“But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy, through the water of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.”
– Titus 3:4,5
I notice the word “mercy” now.
For years it was one of the old-fashioned and “religious” sounding words that didn’t speak to me. I didn’t have an image for it and couldn’t picture it. Mercy rolled off the tongue in prayer. It was a gift, usually in reference to God’s pardoning nature. If I thought about it all, I understand it as an act of clemency or a moral imperative. I could be merciful to others who did wrong unto me as God was merciful to me.
I call it “the mercy” now.
I picture myself swimming in “the mercy.” It is the ocean of God’s love. There is a beautiful exchange. I breath in the mercy and i breath out the mercy. Sometimes mercy is pictured as a “matrix,” a relational field. It is “God’s innermost being turned outward to sustain the visible and created world in unbreakable love.” (Cynthia Bourgeault, Mystical Hope.)
The mercy nurtures us, and through it, we nourish the world. It just is. We don’t need to do wrong to deserve it.
The mercy is an unspeakable love, a connection between lovers.
The mercy is a tapestry and its threads are our lives, making art in the world.
The mercy is a passion and our compassion is the gift returned.
We are made whole by the mercy. Our righteous work can’t save us.
The Letter of Titus, written for the suffering world of that day and written, as scholars suspect, for a baptismal liturgy, (See Titus 3:4-7) affirms that God is mercy. The mercy is everywhere and always there and we are caught up in the mercy exchange.