Wednesday, September 18, 2019

We are all broken by something (Bryan Stevenson)

God is… mercy 
within mercy within mercy.
(Thomas Merton)

  We are all broken by something.  We have all hurt someone and have been hurt. We all share the condition of brokenness even if our brokenness is not equivalent.  And we are all more than the worst thing we have ever done.

  There is a strength, a power even, in understanding brokenness, because embracing our brokenness creates a need and desire for mercy, and perhaps a corresponding need to show mercy.  When you experience mercy, you learn things that are hard to learn otherwise.  You see things you can’t otherwise see; you hear things you can’t otherwise hear.  You begin to recognize the humanity that resides in each of us.
--Bryan Stevenson

Image source: Karen Swenholt, The Return of the Prodigal (Aqua-Resin, 2007).  See the website for an in-depth discussion of Swenholt's art:

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Prodigal Me (Shane Barnard)

What have I done to get me here?
Unraveled and undone
 I need my father
What have I done? 
I’ve followed my feet to nowhere
Now I’m here!
As I ran, I can run no more
Prodigal me.

The mountains to the west
I hear them laugh at me
They know I’m scared to cross
and leave this life I lead
Oh my pride!
I give you up a barter for my freedom
What will they think as I come stumbling
down to join their lives?

I need to cross this mountain and find my way home
I seek no greater fortune
Rescue me
Oh unmerciful divide, be merciful tonight
Show me the other side
Prodigal me

The mountains to the east, they’ve swallowed my beloved
This house completely incomplete, where is my mortar?
Where did he go?  He followed his feet to nowhere
Please come home!
You’ve done me no wrong
Each evening I look down that road
I hope and wait for you
and my servants, they look down that road
We watch and pray for you

Master, master, who’s that man stumbling down that road?
Could it be the one?  could it be?  could it be?
Master, master, it’s Your son
coming home to join our lives

I’m looking down this mountain
I see my way home
There is no greater fortune, I believe!
Oh, unmerciful divine, you laugh at me no more
Oh, I’ve reached the other side!
Prodigal me

Could I be the one?  could I be? could I be?
Father, Father, we’re Your sons
coming home to join Your life
We’ve finally crossed this mountain,
and found our way home
There is no greater fortune than Jesus
Oh, how merciful is our God who gave His only Son!
Oh, we worship You tonight!

To hear Shane Barnard perform Prodigal Me, click on the video below:

Image source: Geliy Korzhev, The Prodigal Son,

Monday, September 16, 2019

Nothing is ever lost (Cynthia Bourgeault)

  Mercy, which we experience … as power, intelligence, purposive goodness, is really none other than the body of Christ of which we are, inevitably and inalienably, living cells.  The body of Christ, the body of hope, the Mercy:  they are all one and the same thing.  They are the unknown heart of God flung outward into accessible form so that nothing contained within that great outpouring can ever be lost or disappear – no idea, no possibility, no creature, no loved one.  Nothing is ever lost.  The root energy of love sustaining all, the light which drives creation and the light by which we know it, become one in Christ.

--Cynthia Bourgeault, Mystical Hope

Image source:  Egino Weinert, The Mercy Seat, bronze,