I've enjoyed your online sermon on the Pharisee and Publican. In it you state what intuitively feels true, namely that
To beg God's mercy is a grave and awesome mystery in its own right, for the mercy of God is the foundation of the universe. We are made bold to ask for nothing less than that gift which goes beyond all comprehension and understanding, that gift by which the very planets and the stars have their being and we mortal humans have our breath. There is no little content to this cry.
This paragraph calls to mind the image of the Ark of the Covenant as God's Mercy Seat, wikipedia article here. I wonder if you could say a little more about mercy being "the foundation of the universe"? I have up until now thought that the Creation was an act of love rather than mercy (though I'm sure a thing or two may also be said about the relation between these two qualities). In other words, I thought God created the world out of the sheer abundance of His love, which could not help but flow out into creativity. The fact of then also having created beings which can behold and adore Him, or ignore and reject Him, I thought of as an additional result of His loving nature of essential unbounded relatedness - but I had not thought of creation of the world being an act of mercy. Although as I say, the suggestion feels intuitively true, my fallen mind thinks "mercy? how is being here - of all God-forsaken places - an act of mercy?!" Please enlighten me if you can!