In John 10:10 Jesus promises His followers abundant life. This blog is about my life as His follower.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Hope for God’s reign of justice and mercy - Advent day 11

Graphic from liferunners.org
Thinking about this advent season I re-read the wonderful praises of Mary after she had found out that she would be the mother of the Savior:

I’m bursting with God-news;
    I’m dancing the song of my Savior God.
God took one good look at me, and look what happened—
    I’m the most fortunate woman on earth!
What God has done for me will never be forgotten,
    the God whose very name is holy, set apart from all others.
His mercy flows in wave after wave
    on those who are in awe before him.
He bared his arm and showed his strength,
    scattered the bluffing braggarts.
He knocked tyrants off their high horses,
    pulled victims out of the mud.
The starving poor sat down to a banquet;
    the callous rich were left out in the cold.
He embraced his chosen child, Israel;
    he remembered and piled on the mercies, piled them high.
It’s exactly what he promised,
    beginning with Abraham and right up to now.

Luke 1:46-55 (MSG) 

These aren't exactly the typical words of an expectant mother.  These are the words of a very Jewish Mary who had grown up learning about the Savior who was to come to Israel.  These are the words of Mary the woman who lived as part of people who were under the rule of another nation.

Yet these are my words too.  I live in a world that is not under the captivity of another government, but that is tyrannized by sin.  Scriptures such as Isaiah 11:1-20 which foretell of Jesus the Savior, talk about both his first coming through the virgin birth as well as his second coming. Jesus' birth brings hope.  Hope for God's reign of justice and mercy.   

Because I'm a follower of Jesus, I need to be a part of His kingdom way of life; justice and mercy need to be guidelines in my daily life.

Megan McKenna, wrote a book Send My Roots Rain.  In it she defines justice and mercy.  I found her definitions thought provoking.  Here's what she says about justice:

"Justice, peace, and the poor are the strands of a single braid that
ties all together in the world and ties us in turn to God. The
definition of justice that I most often use is this: justice is love
expressed in terms of sheer human need: food, water, clothing,
shelter, medicine and health care, education, human rights and
freedom, hope for a future for one's children, freedom from fear and
violence, the dignity of work, and participation in society and
history. Our lives are made of justice. Our moral and ethical choices
are first of all about justice. Our relationships must be steeped in
justice, or terror and violence begin to reign on earth and
destruction inevitably follows."

Here are her thoughts about mercy:

“Mercy is the rain of God, the reign of God, the rein of God. Mercy
gives birth out of death. Mercy comforts and fills up with what is
lacking. Mercy heals. Mercy not only forgets but remembers, re-members
and puts back together better than originally. Mercy is best described
by poetry, by music, by psalm, prayer, story, and silence. Mercy is
the echo of the holy lingering, absent still among us. Mercy is God's
hope and prayer for us."

I'm reminded of these words from Micah 6:8:

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.
(NIV)

 I'm challenged today to be on the look out for opportunities to participate in God's justice and to extend mercy.

Oh Father, I thank You for Jesus.  I recognize that I need You.  May your holy spirit in me rise up big and help me to see the world around me as you do.  May I experience ways today for you to extend justice and mercy through me.

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