Matthew 5:7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” (ESV)

            When I celebrate Communion at the church, one of the main areas that I focus on comes when the celebrant says: “O Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us.” It is one of the most meaningful points in the sacrament because it reminds me of how much the gift of mercy is an essential part of Christ’s ministry. At that sacred moment, I know that I am a sinful creature in need of God’s grace, so when I hear those beautiful words, I am both ashamed and assured at the same time: I am ashamed because of my past sins; I am assured because of God’s great mercy.

            But mercy just isn’t personally given to me because I am in need of forgiveness; it’s also a gift which I am meant to share.  After being forgiven, I could fall into the temptation of being merciless to those around me. My self-righteous holiness could make me judgmental of others who are struggling with their own sins, or issues, or problems. Instead of seeing them as folks who need God’s mercy and love just as much as I do, I could be morally blinded, by my pride, into thinking that they deserve what they get, or that I’ve experienced the same issues and have risen above them, so why can’t they do the same?

            Jesus taught us many things with words, but He also applied His teaching with deeds. If we think about when He was nailed to the cross, He didn’t curse those who were killing Him, but instead He pleaded with His Father to forgive them – a divine act of mercy that makes the cross not a terrible instrument of death, but an everlasting symbol of forgiveness, grace, and life.

            So, next time we’re celebrating Communion, perhaps we would do well to ponder on how much God’s mercy comes to us through Christ, and then think about how we could show and share that mercy with other people – who are struggling, too.

Q: How has God been merciful to me? Did I deserve such a gift? How can I apply mercy to others?

Prayer: O Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us.

O Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us.

O Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, grant us Your peace. Amen.

Today’s image is one of John’s Good Friday drawings called “Faraway Hill.” If you would like to view a larger version, please click here.