Since days of the early church a particular plea has sounded in the halls of worship from humble house churches to cavernous cathedrals—“Lord, have mercy! Christ, have mercy!”
Kyrie, eléison! Christe, eléison!
In ancient Latin or contemporary English, this prayer is both thanksgiving and petition; we are thankful for His mercy and we need more of it today. It also contains a command. If we are to receive God’s mercy, then we must respond by extending mercy to others.
The cry for mercy comes from the deepest place in wounded hearts. As the final plea before any bar of judgment, the guilty one casts himself on the mercy of the court.
In the faces passing by us each day,
- eyes look for mercy,
- ears strain to hear mercy’s refrain,
- wounded souls stretch to each stranger seeking a healing touch, and
- guilty offenders cast one eye behind them to detect the pursuit of the law and one eye ahead in hopes of a glimpse of grace in someone’s face.
Walking in the mercy of Christ, as we will today, we can be God’s voice of promise, or His healing touch, or the face of His grace.
It is true that we will be taken advantage of as guilty ones repeat their offences in the face of the mercy we extend. In this we share in the injustices that Jesus endured at the cross. It is true that unthankful souls will take what we offer as if they were entitled to it, never realizing its cost to us or its source in the Lord Jesus. In their presumption we also share the abuse heaped upon Jesus by the arrogance and selfishness of people.
We must remember that we have received mercy, both as a remedy for our sins and as a gift from God to be quickly and thoroughly given away to others.
As we give from our supply of abundant mercy, our storehouse is not depleted. No! Check the inventory. You will find that the more you give, the more you have.
Kyrie, eléison! Christe, eléison!—“Lord, have mercy! Christ, have mercy!”
Psalm 107:1 NKJV
Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.
Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Remember, O LORD, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you are good, O LORD.
For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Lord Jesus, thank you for your mercy. Because I believe in you and because I asked You to, You have cast the whole record of my sinful life into a sea of forgetfulness. My sins dwell as far from me as the east is from the west. This gift of salvation amazes me every day. I ask you again today for the gift of mercy. When I think of those who have wronged me, let my first thought be mercy. May the knowledge of Your mercy take any sword from my hand except the sword of truth, the only sword sharp enough to cut away the bondage of sin. In Your lovely name, Amen.
There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy
Words: Frederick Faber; Music: Lizzie Tourjee
1. There’s a wideness in God’s mercy Like the wideness of the sea;
There’s a kindness in His justice Which is more than Liberty.
2. There is welcome for the sinner And more graces for the good;
There is mercy with the Savior; There is healing in His blood.
3.For the Love of God is broader Than the measure of man’s mind;
And the heart of the Eternal Is most wonderfully kind.
4. If our love were but more simple We would take Him at His word,
And our lives would then be sunshine In the sweetness of our Lord.
© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved