Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Creation through mercy


  • Please log in to reply
6 replies to this topic

#1 Byron Jack Gaist

Byron Jack Gaist

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 615 posts

Posted 15 February 2006 - 07:35 AM

Dear Matthew,

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!

In Christ
Byron

#2 Guest_Sandra June Hofstead

Guest_Sandra June Hofstead
  • Guests

Posted 15 February 2006 - 05:03 PM

I also enjoyed that statment Matthew. As I had it explained to me, the biblical meaning of mercy is far richer and deeper than our (my) usual understanding of it. I always thought of mercy as being lenient or "going easy" on someone. So when I prayed "Lord have mercy" my mind was thinking "Please Lord go easy on me, feel sorry for me." But I was told by my then choir director that even to chant or sing the word "mercy" was an awesome thing. God's mercy (hesed) is loving-kindness and generosity, abundant love flowing over as the psalm says like precious healing oil flowing down upon the beard and robes of Aaron. After hearing all of that my concept of God's mercy changed a lot.I began to connect it more with God's creative loving energies which hold all things in being. Matthew and others can probably give a better explanation of it; I just wanted to share my experience.


#3 Byron Jack Gaist

Byron Jack Gaist

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 615 posts

Posted 16 February 2006 - 01:45 PM

Dear all,

Prompted by Sandra's comment on Divine mercy as hesed, I am wondering how Orthodox Christianity might view or try to understand the Jewish Kabbalah. This article in the Wikipedia suggests that the Sefiroth, Divine emanations, may be compared to the Divine energies in Palamite thought. Hesed, or Chesed ( article here), in particular, corresponds to "mercy" or "lovingkindness", and significantly perhaps for Matthew's comment above, also represents the first day of Creation. Perhaps my understanding of mercy as compassion does after all, narrow down the meaning of this word.

My knowledge of this issue is quite limited, but can someone say a bit more? Am I, for example, correct in thinking St Gregory considered glory (doxa, Hod) and wisdom (sophia, Chokmah)to be examples of Divine energies? Or did he not assign names to these energies?

In Christ
Byron


#4 Daniel Jeandet

Daniel Jeandet

    Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 235 posts

Posted 30 March 2006 - 07:01 PM

So God is being merciful towards us even before our ancestors have an opportunity to sin? And forever after? This reality almost certainly disproves time-travel.


#5 Guest_Scamandrius

Guest_Scamandrius
  • Guests

Posted 31 March 2006 - 03:57 AM

Sandra June Hofstead wrote:
I always thought of mercy as being lenient or "going easy" on someone. So when I prayed "Lord have mercy" my mind was thinking "Please Lord go easy on me, feel sorry for me." But I was told by my then choir director that even to chant or sing the word "mercy" was an awesome thing.


The Greek for mercy, eleos has a very rich etymological history. It also has the connotation of to take pity. Going all the way back to Homeric Greek and through the great tragedians, eleos is used in a very close familiar sense which suggests intimacy from the one begging for mercy to him who can grant it. The word means not only grant aid and avoid condemnation, but also treat me with kindness as brethren or kinsmen would do. I think the double meaning of the word is quite appropriate whenever we sing Kyrie eleison. It is mysterious; we are asking for mercy and pity. We ask our Lord to judge accordinglingly yet not to do with us as we deserve.


#6 Matthew Panchisin

Matthew Panchisin

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 589 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 01 April 2006 - 09:26 PM

I think that we can understand Gods' mercy better when we embrace thanksgiving, ultimately we end up understanding the limitations of our thanksgiving. In our hearts we come to the knowledge that our words fall well short of adequate thanksgiving to God. It can be a circular motion of inadequacy. We can say our prayers and give thanks to God which is good as we move towards the resurrection. Nevertheless, when we ponder that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, we seem to begin to understand that the place that we fall short is only fulfilled in the Liturgy and the Eucharist, thanksgiving. So it is only there that there the human inadequacy is fulfilled in Christ. Every other place falls short, the places of faith without the Eucharist fall short as do the places of all other works with the exception of the works that Christ fulfilled. Outside of Christ and the Church even our understandings of love will always fall short. Mercy and thanksgiving are rightly united in the Orthodox Church, the Liturgy, the mysteria and the Eucharist.

We can read below the prayer that the Priest says during the Holy Anaphora in the movements of the Divine Liturgy.

"It is proper and right to sing to You, bless You, praise You, thank You and worship You in all places of Your dominion; for You are God ineffable, beyond comprehension, invisible, beyond understanding, existing forever and always the same; You and Your only begotten Son and Your Holy Spirit. You brought us into being out of nothing, and when we fell, You raised us up again. You did not cease doing everything until You led us to heaven and granted us Your kingdom to come. For all these things we thank You and Your only begotten Son and Your Holy Spirit; for all things that we know and do not know, for blessings seen and unseen that have been bestowed upon us. We also thank You for this liturgy which You are pleased to accept from our hands, even though You are surrounded by thousands of Archangels and tens of thousands of Angels, by the Cherubim and Seraphim, six-winged, many-eyed, soaring with their wings,"

Priest:
Singing the victory hymn, proclaiming, crying out, and saying:

People:
Holy, holy, holy, Lord Sabaoth, heaven and earth are filled with Your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna to God in the highest.

We can see that the Church is a Holy and merciful place. Sandra's choir director is very correct that even to chant or sing the word "mercy" is an awesome thing, so is being in it and singing thanks be to God.

In Christ,

Matthew Panchisin


#7 M.C. Steenberg

M.C. Steenberg

    Former Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,843 posts

Posted 02 April 2006 - 12:25 PM

Sandra wrote: I always thought of mercy as being lenient or "going easy" on someone. So when I prayed "Lord have mercy" my mind was thinking "Please Lord go easy on me, feel sorry for me." But I was told by my then choir director that even to chant or sing the word "mercy" was an awesome thing.

To which Scamandrius added: The Greek for mercy, eleos has a very rich etymological history. It also has the connotation of to take pity. Going all the way back to Homeric Greek and through the great tragedians, eleos is used in a very close familiar sense which suggests intimacy from the one begging for mercy to him who can grant it. The word means not only grant aid and avoid condemnation, but also treat me with kindness as brethren or kinsmen would do. I think the double meaning of the word is quite appropriate whenever we sing Kyrie eleison. It is mysterious; we are asking for mercy and pity. We ask our Lord to judge accordinglingly yet not to do with us as we deserve.


Thank you both for these observations. This context is also revealed by the nature of the way the term, and the petition 'Lord, have mercy', is used in the refrains of liturgical worship. How often have we stopped to consider what is implied in the fact that the litanies have the people respond to 'For seasonable weather and an abundance of the fruits of the earth, let us pray to the Lord', with 'Lord, have mercy'? There is more being conveyed here than simply the petition for God to be merciful and generous; it is an invocation of the relationship of merciful love established by God for his creation, chiefly in the incarnation and offering of the Son.

INXC, Matthew




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users