Advent Day 14- How to see a mercy

And Mary sang:  “My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.  Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me and holy is his name.  His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.

Somewhere in our confirmation class of 7th to 8th graders, there is usually a discussion about what “fear” of God means. Something about a revealing of God’s presence must be fear producing, because angels are forever telling their visitees not to be afraid.  (Gabriel’s words to Mary, in fact.)  Eventually, however, our class discussion gets around to a fear of God that equals honor, awe, respect, worship…even obedience. I don’t doubt that a healthy respect and awe of God might produce some trepidation at times.  However, Jesus talked about God as “father” in loving relationship with God’s children.

Mary says, “His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.”  At first hearing it seems that God’s mercy is available to those who honor/worship (fear) God, which may lead one to conjecture that God’s mercy is not available to those who do not honor (fear) God.  I would not go for that assumption.  “The sun shines on the good and the bad” as the saying goes.  The whole world benefits daily from the grace and mercy of our Creator and Sustainer.  It we are breathing at all, God’s mercy touches us, believer or not.

But I can say this.  If  one is not worshiping, honoring (fearing) God with awe, it is almost a sure thing that one will not be able to see and take notice of the mercies of God “that are new every morning” and all around.  It is only in relationship with the Holy One that a person can see what a loving God is doing in her or his life as well as in the world around.  Like forgiveness.  Like healing.  Like hope.  Like unconditional love.  Worship and honor (fear) of God opens one’s eyes to the many divine mercies that one would miss otherwise.