Reflection -- Pope Francis and Presiding Bishop Curry call us to be merciful
I love Pope Francis. I have read just about everything written by him or about him, even the critical stuff, and come out of that experience convinced he is a true messenger and reformer sent by God to the entire world. Here is a church leader trying slowly but surely to turn the Catholic Church -and the church in general - into Christ Church! Love one another, serve one another, follow Him seems to me a great way to describe the theology and direction of Pope Francis since becoming Pope. He could have been an Episcopal Priest!
If asked for one word to define his papacy I would say it is a papacy helping us see mercy as one of the primary messages of Jesus and therefore the church. In his book The Church of Mercy he argues for the institution to be merciful, and we, as members of the church, to be merciful. Besides a call for us to be compassionate and forgiving, the Pope challenges us to look at our relationships to people, to the earth (his encyclical Laude Si' is the most beautiful explanation of why Christianity must be cognizant of and active in behalf of mother earth), and to our institutions. He challenges us to be truly merciful to all in our lives. Including ourselves. We need to cut ourselves some slack too. Self-compassion is merciful too.
As for the Episcopal Church, our Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, has encouraged us for several years to be merciful. In his program The Way of Love, he provides practices for individuals and churches to become part of the Jesus Movement-loving, liberating and life giving. In other words merciful.
Check out www.episcopalchurch.org for much more on our church's efforts to foster mercy.
Two great leaders providing the tools we need to get closer to Jesus and the Simple Jesus Way.
Where is mercy in your life? And how can you be even more merciful going forward? I think these are great questions for us as individuals and as a congregation.