Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Accused and condemned…

Persons are known not by the intellect alone, nor by principles alone, but only by love. It is when we love the other, the enemy, that we obtain from God the key to an understanding of who he is and who we are. It is only this realization that can open to us the real nature of our duty, and of right action.

To shut out the person and to refuse to consider him as a person, as another self, we resort to the impersonal "law" and "nature." That is to say we block off the reality of the other, we cut the intercommunication of our nature and his nature, and we consider only our own nature with its rights, its claims, its demands. In effect, however, we are considering our nature in the concrete and his nature in the abstract. And we justify the evil we do to our brother because he is no longer a brother, he is merely an adversary, an accused, an evil being.

To restore communication, to see our oneness of nature with him, and to respect his personal rights, integrity, his worthiness of love, we have to see ourselves as accused along with him, condemned to death along with him, sinking into the abyss with him, and needing, with him, the ineffable gift of grace and mercy to be saved.

Thomas Merton, Seeds of Destruction, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, pp. 254-255

It is this identification, this seeing of “our oneness of nature” with all humanity, all creation, that makes a prayer like the Jesus Prayer possible as intercession. When we pray, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner…” we are not asking for mercy merely for ourselves, or confessing merely our own narrow little sins. We pray as creatures, one with all creation—broken, fallen, accused, condemned along with it.

I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labour pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.

Romans 8.18-23

 

I know a place, a wonderful place
Where accused and condemned
Find mercy and grace
Where the wrongs we have done
And the wrongs done to us
Were nailed there with Him
There on the cross


    At the cross (at the cross)
    He died for our sin
    At the cross (at the cross)
    He gave us life again

I know a place, a wonderful place
Where accused and condemned
Find mercy and grace
Where the wrongs we have done
And the wrongs done to us
Were nailed there with You
There on the cross

    At the cross (at the cross)
    You died for our sin
    At the cross (at the cross)
    You gave us life again.

 

(Randy & Terry Butler, © 1997 Mercy/Vineyard Publishing )

1 comment:

  1. On reading your post today, I could not help but think of someone who used to work in administration at my college. Another retired colleague -- better connected than I, no doubt -- told me this former colleague is currently in jail on a charge related to child pornography.

    I cannot help but feel pain for him, despite the ugliness of the charge. He who was a prominent citizen in his ethnic community is now a pariah. Whatever lead him down that sorry trail?

    Just as we are only a thin veil away from death, we are also only a breath away from evil. We poor crocks. We weak souls, all. It is good to be reminded of this once in a while.

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