Friday, July 18, 2014

Matthew 12:7 and Hosea 6:6: Worship With Merciful, Loving Hearts

Matthew 12:7

7But if you had known what this means, “I desire mercy and not sacrifice”, you would not have condemned the guiltless. (NRSV)

Hosea 6:6

6 For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice,
  the knowledge of God rather than burnt-offerings. (NRSV)

Dear Jesus,      
When we pray for ears that hear and eyes that see, You clearly answer.  How wrong I have been, O Lord, in thinking that ritual, repetition, and routine were the only answers to spiritual growth.  Yes, these can (and have) led me to You, Jesus, but an overly zealous approach to routine and repetition blurs the beauty of knowing and growing in a relationship with You. I should focus, rather, as You point out, on “steadfast love” and “mercy.” You have been merciful to me in all my transgressions, and although I have tried, I oftentimes fail to “get it.”  These failures, however, are tests of faith, and I appreciate the grace You give to battle through these tests.  I appreciate anything that draws me closer to You, Lord.  For instance, in my struggle to understand Church teaching regarding receiving Holy Communion and whether I am "doctrinally" worthy, my legal scrutiny became a barrier to Your great gift.  I listened to the voices of the Pharisees condemning me, rather than the Master of the sabbath feeding me. Today’s Scripture clearly rests in my heart, Lord.  The legalistic sacrifices and burnt-offerings of strict doctrinal adherence are not the way to You.  Help me, Jesus, to abandon the scrupulosity that the enemy so often uses against me.  Instead, please grant me Your grace to live a life reflecting Your love and mercy, allowing that love and mercy to fall on all those with whom I come in contact.

Always Your Dedicated Servant by Your Grace, Mercy, Peace and Love,