The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Wild about mercy

"But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ — by grace you have been saved — and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:4-7).

It was that time of year: the beginning of Epiphany and the end of Christmas lights and trees, a time when the home must be begrudgingly de-decorated. Fortunately, we had a live sound track for our duties: our singing daughter, Evelyn.

As we wrapped ornaments and returned them to their tins, Evelyn skipped around the house singing holiday songs, 3-year-old style. At one point, she burst into the refrain of her favorite carol, "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing!" With complete confidence, she sang: "Peace on earth and mercy wild, God and sinners reconciled."

Now, to be honest, my gut reaction was to correct her: "Mercy mild, Evie." But I resisted. In fact, I decided I liked the idea of wild mercy and that Evelyn's version is really the right one.

God is rich in mercy, and that mercy is wildly wonderful. Mercy isn't tame or calm. It doesn't follow our rules. Mercy works in unexpected ways, and it's not always comfortable. Mercy takes us sinners, young and old, and says, "You are forgiven! You are loved, and grace is all around you!" Wild.

Now it's early spring and the time is coming when my husband and I will fill baskets with colored eggs and our children will learn Easter songs of faith. But we also might want to bring back Evelyn's Christmas refrain, for Easter is not about a mild occurrence. Easter is about the uncontainable mercy of God, who raises Jesus from the dead!

How wild is that? 


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February issue


Embracing diversity