The goal of Mercy Season, August 7 - September 18, is to get this meme on your mind and watch what God does then.
The meme helps you change the way you see yourself and your world. It gets you ready for a grateful celebration at the season climax on September 18th, the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur).
Meme = Declaration + Prayer + Image
The meme is a summary of the whole point of Mercy Season. The tricky part is that both the Mercy Declaration and the Mercy Prayer in the meme are profoundly simple (see below). They make sense even to a child, and yet the great minds of the world will never really exhaust them. They never get old. They keep getting you ready for the next challenge. Try them and see.
The Mercy Declaration
The "Mercy Declaration" is, "This is a Day of Atonement, and we have mercy."
"We have mercy" because it has been given to us by Christ. That gift changes us so we "have mercy" on others. When we experience mercy, when it really hits us, we become merciful people.
Make the Mercy Declaration every day in order to SYNC your day with the atonement that Christ made on the heavenly altar. You make the Declaration; it makes your day.
If the Mercy Declaration sinks into you, your "victim" days are over. It isn't that no one will do anything bad to you any more.
They will do it, but their abuse will not define you any more. You will be defined by what Christ did for you not what somebody else did to you.
When you see yourself that way--in Christ and in his atonement--it changes the way you react to your "victim" situations. You take charge of them by forgiving them. You rise above them because of Christ's atonement, and you move on.
Repeating the Mercy Declaration at the start of your day or on your way to work or school puts you into position to do that.
The Mercy Prayer
The "Mercy Prayer" is, "Make us a channel of your mercy, Lord. We'll forgive. We'll forgive. We'll forgive."
The Mercy Prayer doubles down on the commitment in the Mercy Declaration. It makes sure you are in SYNC with Christ's world-changing intentions when he presented his own blood on the altar.
The Declaration sets the rhythm of mercy. In the Prayer, you start to dance to that beat.
The Prayer is a way of saying, "Yes, please. I want to move with that Declaration. I want the benefits of Christ's atonement, and I want to spread those benefits all over my world by showing mercy to those who need it, whether they deserve it or not. What a privilege to be in on this!"
The Mercy Icon and Meme
The sacrificial altar in the icon reminds us of the way that blood was used in ritual purification in ancient times. It atoned for sin and restored the relationship between the sinner and the god or spirit who had been offended.
The meme (top of page) shows how the blood of Christ works like that ancient ritual. It flows down onto the whole world and changes everything. It restores the relationship between us and God. It solves the problem we could never solve.
As we see this meme and SYNC with the atoning blood of Christ, we are basically saying, "Lord, please give us a share in the atonement Christ made when he presented his own blood on the altar at the holiest spot in heaven. And help us carry out today the same purpose Christ had in mind two thousand years ago when he did that."
We receive mercy through Christ's sacrifice, and that astonishing reality turns us into merciful people. Mercy is the power that changes the world. Mercy is the force that brings the deep change that can never be forced.
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What is the "Day of Atonement"?
And how is it a game-changer?
The "Day of Atonement" (in Hebrew, "Yom Kippur") is the holiest day of the year on the Jewish calendar. It is the day the nation renews its special link with God. It gives the perfect analogy to explain how Jesus’ sacrifice created a similar God-link and group identity for anybody, Jewish or not, who honors him as King.
What does ritual purification have to do with the 21st century? Aren't we past all that?
People are still doing things to us that are too horrible to forgive, and they are doing nothing to deserve forgiveness for them. Strange as it sounds, Christ's "ritual purification" in heaven is what gives us a constructive way to deal with horrible, 21st century wrongs and recover from the damage they did to us.
If I forgive others, won't they take advantage of me?
Not if you do it right. Forgiveness is never supposed to be seen as permission for the next time.