I observe my breathing for a minute and sit in the silence, once again, trying to maintain my breathing as I type. It amuses me how hard I find that!
"I ask for the desire to pray and meditate regularly. I ask for patience, tolerance, empathy, gentleness, and compassion. I ask to abstain from anger, anxiety, compulsive behaviour, discouragement, arrogance, and self-absorption. I ask to know and follow Jesus more closely, seeking justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly."
10 And as he sat at dinner* in the house, many tax-collectors and sinners came and were sitting* with him and his disciples. 11When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, ‘Why does your teacher eat with tax-collectors and sinners?’ 12But when he heard this, he said, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13Go and learn what this means, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.’
1) "...with him;" "...learn what this means;" "...I desire mercy, not sacrifice;" "...I have come to call... sinners;" "...learn what this means."
2) "I desire mercy, not sacrifice." Jesus is citing one of the prophets, probably Jeremiah or Isaiah, could be Micah, possibly all three and others, this is a common theme. What is mercy? How do I exercise it? I am still moved by the image from yesterday's prayer of "living water flowing from the hearts of believers." Could "mercy" be another way of describing that living water? Mercy is certainly good things: compassion, empathy, patience, gentleness, tolerance, kindness, humility, forgiveness, hope, joy... It is shorthand for all the fruit of the spirit. Jesus doesn't want us judging other people in this passage, but living out of the same mercy we have received. But are we the righteous or the sinners? the well or the sick? And do we understand the nature of our illness, or do we just rattle off a list of traits we see quoted often in the bible? I am impatient, arrogant, I draw attention to myself, I can be self-important, and I'm easily discouraged and distracted when things don't go as I expect or hope. I have a list around here somewhere, funny how I so easily forget my character defects.
3) What is the invitation in all this? To be honest. to pursue mercy, not so much to receive mercy, but to offer it.
"Holy One, have mercy on me, and inspire mercy in me that I may have it for others."
Breathprayer: "Learn this... I desire mercy."