Stepping from piety into mercy

**quick note**

pi·e·ty [pahy-i-tee]

noun, plural -ties. – reverence for God or devout fulfillment of religious obligations:

Today’s blog gets a little interactive. Grab your bibles, and turn to Luke 10, and read through verses 25 – 37. Soak on it for a a few minutes. Then come back to this.

Here is a link if you need: Luke 10:25-37

It is easy to read this story and walk away with a casual sense of “I need to be more merciful”, but it actually goes a lot deeper than that. What this parable illustrates quite nicely is the dualism that we often place between our posture towards God and our posture towards others.

The priest and the Levite in this story both represent important people. As workers in the temple, they were required to uphold the law to the letter and held in high regard by those in the community. It is highly unlikely that a priest or a levite would have not helped someone, but if they touched a dead man there was a rigorous re-cleansing process (about two weeks) before they could resume duties. These men were not willing to take the risk of approaching this man in case he was dead, for fear of being unable to do what they were required to do. By all cultural standards these priests simply did what was expected of them.

Then we see a Samaritan. a man who has nothing to do with jewish people. Things between the samaritan and jewish people were pretty sketchy, and by all standards it wouldn’t have stirred the pot had a samaritan man left a (presumably) jewish man lying in a ditch.

Yet He doesn’t.

Here is a man who steps outside of what is expected. Here is a man who, in a moment, sheds the things that define his identity in order to break a barrier and love someone.

He meets the broken where the broken are at.

Begins to sound a little like Jesus.

Jesus, being the firstborn over all creation, the word that became flesh, steps into creation incarnationally and meets a broken humanity where it is at. He tends the wounds, provides shelter and nurses humanity back to health.

And I believe the invitation in this parable is to do the same. To blur the lines between our standing before God and our journey with the people around us.

We are far too concerned with our devoutness towards God. We gasp when someone swears, look down on those who drink, and somewhat secretly consider ourselves holy. Our identity gets tied up in the label “Christian”.

But it’s not a name. It’s a way of life. Jesus invites us to break down the walls, and to recognise that our own holiness is not greater than looking after the most broken person. Loving God is a profound opportunity to fall in love with loving other people. Perhaps if we stepped down from our piety, stepped INTO mercy, we would discover  holiness on Jesus’ terms.

“May you see that the way you love others IS the way you love God”

                                                                                       -Rob Bell

 

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One thought on “Stepping from piety into mercy

  1. lou says:

    Amaze-balls. I am forced to look at myself and wonder what makes me think I’m so important?! There is so much living I have to do but so much more I could do for those around me. We live in such a selfish world. I want to challenge that. Oh and rob bell-i flipping love the guys work. He is the man!

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