Year of Mercy: Mercy Given

Today we look at one of the great parables of contrast: Luke 18:1-8.  Simply put, Jesus is saying that if we can persist and eventually prevail over another’s reluctance to help us, how much more will we receive help from God, who is not reluctant.

Perhaps Jesus was thinking about the reluctance of the Pharisees, because the very next passage zeros in on them.  And twenty centuries later, Jesus’ parable indicts the Church whenever we turn a deaf ear to the cries of others.

It is as if Jesus is commending those in need for not giving up–for continuing to cry out, “You can help us.  You must do so.”  Then and now there are people who persist in their cries.  The Church, as the reluctant judge, must be eventually roused to respond through a spirit of compassion and concrete acts of caregiving.

The persistence in prayer is fueled by the assurance that slow-coming mercy is not because God is reluctant, it is because people are reluctant.  God’s heart is warm from the get-go.  The flow of mercy is not blocked at the Source, but rather blocked somewhere else downstream.

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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