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He desires mercy, not sacrifice

Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
with ten thousand rivers of olive oil?
Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.

(Micah 6:7-8)

We are living a great opportunity. Doors are open for followers of Jesus to make his love more real to people. I see it everywhere. The students are eagerly serving those who need food, families are engaged with each other without as many distractions. In Matthew 9:13 Jesus quotes the prophet when he says, “Go and learn what this means, I desire mercy not sacrifice.”

The only way to learn is to do it. How do we do mercy? Jesus’ critique of the religion of his time is not the content. He has no doubt in the Pharisees’ knowledge of Scripture, prayer, or other “fillers.” Jesus and the prophets make it clear that Form matters. As the Body of Christ, we are now the form Jesus takes in the world. 

Right now is when the proverbial rubber meets the road. Every moment we can “do mercy” at an individual level and a systemic level. The Trinity causes our actions to take the shape of Jesus’ love, life, death, and resurrection.

Grace causes us, through the Cross, to not have to worry about whether we feel “at one” with everything. We don’t even have to feel “at one” with ourselves. Through grace, we are one with God as much as God is one with godself (and God is three separate persons, and one). This contradiction is Absolute. This is good news because Holy Week and Easter is a transformation of ugly struggle into beautiful struggle. Now there is New Life. 

The form of this New Life of Christ’s body (us, yet also ascended) could be something totally new now. It can be based on the Image of God in every human. Every human is as valuable as the universe. We have an opportunity to contrast the world that bases value on production, merit, accumulation, fame, or innumerable other things. Let’s get to it!

Thanks, 

Stefan Seeling, student ministry director