Dear Church Family,
Mercy is on my mind this month.
I recently came across an interesting quote by Oswald Bayer on his observation of the common human experience: There is no such thing as an autocratic individual, totally independent of the surrounding world and its recognition…Striving to find approval in the eyes of others, being noticed and not being dismissed as nothing by others, demonstrates that I cannot relate to myself without relating to the world. It applies to our social birth as well as our physical birth. I constantly vacillate even to the very end of life, between the judgment others make about me and my own judgment of myself…I arrive at some point of calm, and then become unsure of myself again (Living by Faith: Justification and Sanctification, Eerdmans, 2003, p. 3).
Bayer’s quote serves as a helpful lens for how we view the mercy work of the church. As we live as those whom God has regarded, children who have received mercy from our Heavenly Father and the assurance of who we are in Christ, we also have the privilege of showing mercy to others. Noticing them. Regarding them. Helping people who are struggling to understand their own identity by giving them a powerful anchor: “I see you, and I love you.” Imagine what our neighborhood would look like if everyone in our reach could say with certainty: “I am seen, and I am loved!”
The simplicity of this approach to mercy work excites me! So often we are overwhelmed by the endless list of things we could be doing: food bank, offering clothing and other supplies, serving a hot meal, connecting people with jobs, providing them shelter, hosting programs and other groups that can provide assistance for people…How do we even begin to narrow that down? Where do we even start?
How about this. Does this person know that I see him, and does he know that I love him? Of course, this question presupposes that I actually do see him, and I really do love him. If that’s not the case, I have some things I need to work through. But these two questions reveal something that everyone needs, and everyone is capable of providing. Especially Christians!
Speaking of mercy, our new Mercy Meals ministry is off to a great start. A number of you have given your time in support of this ministry of packing ingredients that can be distributed to hungry people all over the world. If you haven’t been able to join in the work of packing, another way to support this ministry is with your financial gifts. In the next few months, we will need to order another $1,200 worth of ingredients to pack. The good news is that we are already half way there with a matching $600 gift!
Our elevator, once installed, is another example of showing mercy to people who come to our facility. We want all people to feel seen and loved by granting them the ability to be included in everything we do. The new project engineer is still getting acquainted with the job and the permits are still pending, but the day work can begin will be here before we know it.
The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord LOOK upon you with favor, and give you peace. Amen.