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Lent 9: Mercy

by Christiana Lundholm
Readings: Psalm 121, Micah 7:18-20, Romans 3:21-31

Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of your possession? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in showing clemency. He will again have compassion upon us; he will tread our iniquities under foot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.  Micah 7:18-19






Today’s reading from the prophet Micah offers extravagant images of forgiveness. As I read the sentence about God casting our sins into the depths, it brought to mind a similar passage in the work of the fourteenth century writer William Langland: “But all the wickedness in the world which man may do or think is no more to the mercy of God than a live coal dropped in the sea.” Most of us are all too aware that “all the wickedness in the world which man may do” is an awful lot, and the wickedness that we think is probably even greater.

In the face of this, it gives me some hope to be reminded of just how overflowing God’s mercy truly is. Sometimes I have a tendency to feel a bit stingy with mercy, as if I am afraid that if I share too much, it will run out. Fortunately, Micah is reminding us today that God’s mercy is not a scarce resource. We don’t have to worry about sharing it with the “wrong” people, and the price isn’t going to go up if we use too much of it. God’s mercy is magnificently abundant, and it will never, ever run out.

Merciful God, thank you for the overflowing compassion you show to us, your children. Remind us anew in this Lenten season of the true depth and breadth of your mercy and forgiveness. Give us the courage to share your healing and renewal with all the world.  

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