Saturday, January 19, 2013

Munificent Mercy - Greathearted Grace

One of the terms that you don't hear much anymore in the English language is "munificent." It means generous, giving and unselfish to the extreme. 

Every so often, I dig out a word like that and roll it around on my tongue, meditate on it as one of the character attributes of God, and apply it to other character traits He has. 

When I thought of "munificent," the word "mercy" came to mind. Automatically. (Never mind that they both start with the letter M...) God's mercy is over and above what anyone deserves. Including people of the Way. 

I forget that. I get so full of myself sometimes; I think I'm something special, which in a way I am as an adopted child of the Great King, but I get to taking credit for that when I know perfectly well it has nothing to do with me, but with the relationship I have with God, the one that Jesus paid the ultimate price for me to be able to have. Without His munificent mercy, I would be stuck in the mire, unable to get out of my own slime. 

Jesus made that possible, pulled me out of the pit. I couldn't get out on my own - not in a million billion years.

Royalty-free image used by permission.
"The Cross and the Hand" photo courtesy of its creator, njaj , at
And then on top of that ... He gave me His grace, out of His great Heart of love. This is what I think of as "Beyond" or as one of my kids said once, "A and B the C of D - Above and Beyond the Call of Duty" ... and then some ... because when you get right down to it, He didn't have to.  

He's God - He was not obligated (as in duty-bound) to provide a Way of redemption. He did it because He wanted to do it. He wanted to do it ... because He. Loves. Us. 

He. Loves. Me. Always has, always will. 

Greathearted grace. Not only removing the penalty of my insufficiency, but lavishing on me all the unconditional love I can stand, and more besides. Covering me, paying for me, believing in me: past, present, and future. Every thought, every moment, every motive, every word spoken, every time I could have said or done something but didn't. Acceptance with no strings attached. Approval in spite of my failings. Betrothal even while I was / am sullied by my own mediocrity. His patience even in the midst of my pain. His forgiveness even while I'm acting out, "in the very act." If that isn't cause for gratitude, if that doesn't spark devotion in me, if I want to take advantage or abuse that kind of generosity, then I've not understood either the depths of my own depravity or the deeper depths of His mercy and grace. Or both.

If / when I do start to grasp even part of that, it's so easy to want to live a life that's focused on Him, pleasing to Him. I don't have to try to have that desire, that passion ... it just comes; whether I "do it right" or not, I know He is delighted in my heart's desire. That passion for Him, the desire to put His wants above my own ... flows out of my innermost being, the one that is so thankful for every nasty thing He has taken away from me that I deserved, and every amazing thing He has given to me that I could never, ever earn ... all from the lavish love and goodness, the munificent mercy of His greathearted grace.

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