Moving with the Mercy Rhythm
To move in SYNC with the Mercy Rhythm means that we start dancing to it. We love it. We get into it. And it gets into us. God forgave us, we forgive others. God healed us, we bring healing to others.
Moving to the rhythm of God's mercy is more like a dance than a march. Everybody is moving to the same rhythm but each one is making different moves, or even if they are making the same moves, the moves look different because the people are built differently. The dance unifies the dancers and also capitalizes on their differences instead of standardizing everything like a marching band does.
Our goals as we move with the Mercy Rhythm
1) Living as mercy agents
2) Preparing for the Day of Atonement on September 27th
The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) was and is the holiest day of the year for the Jews, the only day when the High Priest would go into the inner sanctum of the Temple and renew the atoning blood on the Ark of the Covenant. In the SYNC annual cycle, we celebrate the Day of Atonement in memory of the final sacrifice for our sin, which Jesus performed by presenting his own blood in the Temple in heaven (Hebrews 9.11-15). That was the game-changer in the relationship between humanity and God.
We prepare to celebrate the Day of Atonement by clearing our slate of all grudges, bitterness, and desire for revenge and by spreading the word that forgiveness is available through Christ. Only when we forgive others and live as agents of God's mercy are we able to celebrate Christ's atonement with integrity.
How do we move with the Mercy Rhythm?
We say "Yes!" Access to the mercy of Jesus does not come by any secret formula except saying "Yes" to the sacrifice of Jesus. We see that Jesus is the one who brings heaven's mercy within our reach, and we say, "Yes! Over here please. I needed that, and I will give the rest of my life to honor the one who did that for me." "Yes! I want to be part of Jesus's mercy distribution network. I want to help people find the healing they need in his grace." "SYNC me!" is one way of saying "Yes."
We keep looking at the story of the final Day of Atonement. The sacrifice of Jesus has wiped out our guilt and shame before God! And he has given us the good news for the benefit of everybody--heaven's mercy is available on earth now because the all-powerful Messiah has sacrificed his life to bring it. This good news will unite the world in gratitude and service to the one who died for us all.
We become mercy agents for Jesus. Agents do not appoint themselves. They get authorized and they stay connected with whoever or whatever they represent. We keep opening ourselves up to the mercy of Jesus. It isn't just a one-time thing. It's a life process, new every morning. We keep thanking God for past mercies and discovering new depths of his mercy. This keeps us fresh as agents, always ready to forgive, always having a new story to tell about how God's mercy is blessing us.
We don't expect everybody to like Jesus's terms for access to mercy. Many people refuse to accept charity because it seems insulting to them. Mercy is the same. To accept it, you have to admit you need it, and that goes against a very strong and very common human tendency to believe, "I'm not that bad."
Moving with the Mercy Rhythm - letting it move you; living it out
Living as agents of God's mercy
When we experience the mercy of Jesus through his sacrifice, we let it define us and our purpose in life. We call this "SYNCing" with Jesus and his strategy, seeing ourselves in Christ.
Living with the mercy of the Spirit of Christ inside us is not an instant transformation. We keep discovering more about it as we go along. We can open the door to new experiences and discoveries with prayers along these lines (reword as needed to make them your own)
If we are in Christ, the epitome of mercy, we also become mercy agents who attract others to open up to his mercy. They see what it is doing to us, and they want in.
We can assure them that we did not receive mercy because we deserved it any more than they do. We didn't deserve it at all. All we did was to quit thinking we didn't need it, accept it, and let it start to change the things that were wrong with us. No bragging rights for any of that!
They can do exactly what we did. Ever since the game-changer on that final "Day of Atonement," the mercy of Jesus is available to all those who say "Yes" to Jesus, our High Priest and our King. It doesn't matter how bad we used to be; in fact, the worse we were, the more thankful we will be for mercy and the more obvious it will be that we didn't change ourselves. Mercy changed us. Thank you Jesus!
As mercy agents, we keep coming back to four key ideas:
God is working a strategy to bring heaven's mercy to earth
Jesus is the key figure in that strategy, the source of all mercy, the sacrifice who gave his life to bring mercy within reach of earth
Jesus presented his blood in the Temple in heaven as the final atonement making peace between God and those who authentically accept his pardon
If we do not show mercy, we did not authentically receive our own pardon
As these ideas soak into us, heaven's mercy goes to work on earth in us and around us. Our lives change. We have new stories to tell about how the mercy of Jesus works.
Mercy Season (August 7 - September 27) is the time to re-SYNC with the Mercy Rhythm. Remember who we are. Remember how we got here. And act like it--grateful to God, living mercifully, and urging people to take advantage of the Grace Period by authentically accepting the pardon that Jesus made available to them.
Jesus has the key role of bringing heaven's mercy to earth because he himself was an impossible combination of heaven and earth, of God and humanity. It took such a one-of-a-kind being to connect the unseen "heaven" with the world we see. He does not just make the connection. He IS the connection.
And that is why getting the benefit of the mercy of Jesus cannot be an impersonal thing. The mercy of his sacrifice is so entangled with Jesus himself that there is no way to separate the two. His sacrifice brings mercy to us; he himself orders us to live as his mercy agents. We have both or neither. Let's go for both.
Jesus, our sacrifice and our high priest, please let your mercy go to work on us. Let it wipe out the parts of us that want to whine about how unfair other people are. Wipe out our desire to pay them back. Instead let us show them mercy, and please let us have an opportunity to tell them about the grace period when they can get a pardon like we did. Make us great mercy agents, and let the suffering of the world be reduced because of the healing and the hope that come through your sacrifice.
God, please give [name of person or group] your mercy. Draw them to authentically receive your mercy and to get the pardon you want everyone to have. Turn them into mercy agents who will draw more and more people to accept your pardon. Let the suffering of the world be reduced because they are not bitter, vengeful, or guilty any more.