Saturday, May 29, 2010

Mercy and Me and You/ Christ have Mercy 4

This morning we have received several mercies.  One of them being  Rev. Harrison mentioning this little effort on his blog and sending people to read it.  (Now it better be good! :) )  Thank you and hello, in any case!  I'll take from that permission to keep quoting the book. 

The other thing that happened this morning:  I got up and did what Luther said. (This is code for Lutherans;  the others have to read the small catechism.  :)  ).  (Do it.)

When we call upon the name of our triune God, we say that we remember our Baptism, the beginning God made with us.  Now, when I grew in very Christian circumstances in Germany, nobody told me to make an invocation, make a sign of the cross or remember my baptism.  (Nobody went through the catechism, either).  So it was quite a gift to learn that here we are to take complete comfort and reassurance of God's grace distributed to me and all others in the Sacrament.

But now that I'm hovering between chapter 2 and 3, and am thinking about the great mercy of the great God, and being told that "splagchnon" is a deep feeling from the gut (we've all felt that), and thinking that in German "Barm" is something like "Darm" (also "gut"),-- today, I remembered that when we reassure ourselves of God's grace in baptism, we are reminding ourselves of his great "splagchnon", his very deep affection and compassion.  In remembering Baptism we reminded of this fatherly feeling and motivation for providing this salvation in Christ! 

This is what:  "We worship your name for ever and ever"  means (Matins).  We receive from this name and this God everything through Grace.  But Grace is not just a word, a formulation, a doctrine to be received, a method, not something infused, etc.  It is as we heard in Chapter 2, it is the very nature of the living God, the dear Father in heaven, to have this disposition towards each one--to me and to all.  Call upon the name of the Lord because he is so gracious and compassionate.  And he wants us to know it.  And he wants us to know it by telling each other.

This was all made clear in Chapter 2, but I did not get the connection right away.

The clearest and most direct revelation of the Trinity is in Christian Baptism, which shows God as mercy.  according to Luther, "in Baptism, heaven is wide open and the Trinity is present  to sanctify and save."  The apostle Paul writes:  "He [the Father] saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior" (Titus 3:5-6)... In this life we find sin, death, and misery.  In Baptism we find God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as the triune God of mercy, life, and love, and we find that, mercifully, "heaven is nothing but windows and doors."  p.33

And then again about the orphans in Othoro.

The promise Christ gave to His disciples holds good in Othoro even as it does for you:  " I will not leave you as orphans;  I will come to you"  (John 14:18).  How wonderful that in one of the only passages in which Jesus speaks of orphans, He has just comforted His disciples with the doctrine of the Trinity.  In Christ you, though once orphaned, have a heavenly Father.  In Christ you have a beloved Brother who has borne your every burden in mercy (Hebrews 2:14).  In the Holy Spirit you have eternal consolation and comfort.  And like the Othoro children, you have a Church as your community of mercy.   p. 36

How very, very good that we are not pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps.  If we can remember this mercy towards ourselves --the fullness, the completeness, the depths, the breadth, the eternity, the richness, the sacrifice of it, the feeling of it--by our very own Maker, Father, Brother, Comforter--found in the church, we have enough to ponder.  Let it animate our being.

We need to remember this also in our own suffering.  How is it that this merciful God lets such awful things happen to us?

The Othoro orphans are a gift.  The world and this sinful flesh might view them as a burden.  However, they have become an opportunity for mercy and compassion.

So are we an opportunity for compassion.

I don't like to be very gushy on this blog, but I do want to really give thanks here, like the boy, to God and Jesus Christ, that He and others have seen me as a human being.  My own father and mother have passed on, but there have been other friends, family, neighbors and congregation members and bloggers, who have cared for us in God's name, each in their own way.  I've tried to help them, too, by helping them deal with our distress by drawing their own eyes to his comfort.  So it is all mutual and shared.   All this gut-wrenching stuff is love, grows love, shows love.

Sometimes, it does not happen.  Sometimes, people are revolted, shocked, too grieved to understand, too frightened, too selfish, too haughty...  Sometimes they leave you by the wayside, ignore you, spurn you, reject you.  I can't do anything about that.  If feels quite bad.  But I can rest in God's compassion for me and for them and go in this knowledge.  I can even feel some "splagchnon" for them and pray for them.

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