Epiphany 2 - Year A
I waited and waited and waited for God. [Psalm 40:1a, The Message]
Remember how far it is from Jesus’ birth to baptism. It is far longer than Christmas to Epiphany. Traditionally it was a 30 year wait. Less than the 40 year wait in the Wilderness, but still a long time. How many died for no good reason during that wait? How many were born? How consistently perfect were our heroic figures?
“At last God looked; finally God listened. [Psalm 40:1b, The Message]
The wait was about a direct encounter, a sense of belovedness strong enough to stop waiting. Enough, G*D, of the active listening. Enough, G*D, of the appreciative inquiry. Enough, G*D, of the anticipatory waiting. Enough.
Now, with a firm understanding of mercy beyond repentance, Jesus rises out of chaotic waters (even as Moses put his sandals back on after that mystery of an unconsumed burning bush). And you? No matter how great your repentance it will always be outdone by mercy. So you might as well get on with it - receive great mercy, give great mercy.
So it is we move to the end of the pericope, “Do not, O Lord, withhold your mercy from me; let your steadfast love and your faithfulness keep me safe forever. [Psalm 40:11, NRSV] No matter how long it has been, living the moment in mercy more than balances all the years of waiting (well, if your view is long enough and you don’t want to apply fairness or justice to each opportunity faced). Perhaps we only need to affirm that mercy is a more wholesome approach to life than is an insistence on repentance.
May you find a new song of mercy on your tongue and in your life.