Welcome to Mercy Mondays! Each Monday, we discuss an aspect of God’s mercy together. Last week’s posts, about mercy and compassion, made me think of small ways that compassion proves to be merciful. Thanks to those who shared their thoughts with us last week.
As we approach mercy in community, I’ve put a few tips together:
1. Read the prompt for today and write a piece about the prompt on your blog. There are no rules for length or direction you run with the prompt. No attendance record will be kept. Jump in at any time, and participate as frequently or as occasionally as you like.
2. Link up your post (not your general blog address, please) with the link-up tool below. If you aren’t a blogger, I welcome your thoughts in a comment below.
3. Be sure to read and comment on at least one other post. Ideally there will be more than just my post to comment on. (I always say a little prayer, “Oh please, oh please, let there be more than mine to comment on.”) But if not, fine, just comment on mine and I’ll comment on yours, and we’ll be the most merciful two bloggers ever.
4. Please be merciful to yourself. Mercy Mondays are meant to encourage us as we grow in our knowledge and practice of mercy! If we experience discouragement or another negative emotion from this exercise, it will have failed. I am convinced that God’s mercy brings freedom, healing, and relief, and the idea of Mercy Mondays is to spread mercy, not beat ourselves up about previous lack thereof.
5. Feel free to grab the Mercy Mondays button in the left sidebar if you’d like to put it in your post or on your blog. (For the more tech-savvy among us: I have fixed the button so it actually brings people to the blog instead of my photo album where the button came from. Oops.) I’d also appreciate your help in spreading the word about Mercy Mondays online: on Facebook, Twitter, or another site. The more, the merrier!
This week’s prompt: Merciful Opportunities. I’d love to hear about groups that are making mercy known to others through their actions, their commitment to giving, or their guiding principles. This group can be recognized and bound by guidelines, like a non-profit organization, or grassroots and spontaneous, like a group of kids raising money for a cause they support. It could have a local focus or a more global sense. Really, any group that has inspired you with its ability to show mercy.
When I first started pondering mercy, I did three things. I started looking up verses about mercy. I talked it over with some dear friends. I got online and Googled “mercy organizations.”
Frankly, the results of that search helped fuel my desire to delve more deeply into mercy. Who knows how many groups have been founded out of the generous compassion that I’ve come to identify as mercy? A good number of them, though, actually put “mercy” in their names, so it’s easy to identify those. Here are a few of my favorites.
Mercy Ships, founded by a married couple in 1978, takes a floating hospital to ports of call around the world to provide medical, dental, and surgical care for “the forgotten poor.” Their current ship, the Africa Mercy, is the largest non-governmental ship providing health care in the world, and it is currently docked in Conakry, Guinea. Medical professionals donate their time, to be sure, but many other professionals also give of their time to make the ministry run effectively: cooks, carpenters, and teachers, to name a few. Mercy Ships sponsors mission trips as well as accepting stand-alone volunteers, from two-week to several-month terms of service.
Mercy Corps, in action since 1979, started in response to Cambodian refugees fleeing the “killing fields.” Now a widespread effort, Mercy Corps works with everything from emergency disaster response to microfinancing, which encourages economic growth, to fresh water initiatives. Based in Portland, Oregon, Mercy Corps operates in 44 countries around the world. Volunteering opportunities in the U.S. are limited primarily to the Portland area, but available internships get posted on the website’s job opportunities page. Their current fundraising drive is supported by the cast of “The Princess Bride,” and for varying amounts of monthly donations, hilarious memorabilia is available to you.
Mercy Chefs began in 2005 in response to Hurricane Katrina. The organization travels to sites of natural disaster with mobile food kitchens and prepares hot meals for victims and first responders. Mercy Chefs have gone to seven states in the United States and to Haiti to help feed people after hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and more. Six chefs, including founder Gary LeBlanc, operate in their home states and support volunteers in a total of 18 U.S. states.
Mission of Mercy, started in 1994, provides free healthcare to people in Arizona, Maryland, Texas, and Pennsylvania, with the priciples of “restoring dignity” and “healing through love.” Many of the people served work in jobs that do not provide health insurance, like seasonal farming. Mission of Mercy serves in eighteen clinics, providing healthcare, dental care, and prescription medications through the volunteered services of medical professionals and donations to provide supplies and medications. Founders Gianna and Michael Sullivan write that the simple question, “Where does God fit into this for you?” often leads to a discussion of the role of faith in the patient’s, and the provider’s, life.
These are not an exhaustive list, by any means. So many, many wonderful organizations bring God’s mercy to the people around them or to people far away. Many don’t have “mercy” in their name at all, but are still motivated by this powerful compassion.
For me, these organizations (and others) feel like tiny buds sprouting on a long-dormant tree limb. The encouragement I’ve received from our Mercy Mondays keeps giving me hope for how to apply mercy in my life, but also for how to get involved in showing mercy on a larger scale.
Now, share with me, please:
- What opportunities for mercy do you see, or take part in, or both?
- How does (or should) mercy motivate us to action?