Episode 425 – Compassion from God

One of the daily prayers of the Church begs for God’s compassion. We can only beg for His compassion when we have faith in the power and love of God. God has shown us everything we need to understand His power to save us and to have compassion on us. Now that we have experienced His power and compassion, it is our turn to be a witness to His power so others can have faith in His compassion and power.

Audio Version

My brothers and sisters, in all of the daily services of the church, we say this very basic prayer. May the Lord have compassion on us. May he bless us. May he shine his face upon us, and may he have mercy on us. This is actually from the Old Testament, but it is a daily prayer of the church begging God to have compassion on us.

And as I wrote in the bulletin, compassion is something possible only because of faith. You see, my brothers and sisters, if God didn’t know that he could save the world, he couldn’t have had compassion on us. Think of this morning’s gospel. Thomas missed the boat last week. Christ appeared to the disciples. Thomas wasn’t there. The disciples said, “Hey, we saw Christ. Yay.” Thomas says, “No, no, no, no, no. Unless I see him, if I do not see him with my own eyes, if I do not touch him with my hands, I will not believe.”

And so today, eight days later, Christ shows up and he says to Thomas, “Come on, Thomas, look at me. Touch me.” He says, “Believe in me.” And Thomas believed. He said, “My Lord and my God.” And Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen me have you believed? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believed.” You see my brothers and sisters, when God has compassion on us, he gives us what we need. Thomas needed to see and to touch in order to believe. And God will give us what we need to believe in him, because God loves us. And when we pray the prayer every day in the church, God have compassion on us and bless us. We are asking him to use his power to comfort us in our pain, to soothe us in our anxiety. And we all know that in our current society, we are filled with pain and anxiety and all sorts of struggles. And so we come to God and we beg him to have compassion on us. And we do that because we know the power of God.

You see, my brothers and sisters, God has shown us his power. Long before we celebrated Pascha, we were watching and we were observing, and we were witnessing the power of God. Think back all those many weeks, the man who he healed that couldn’t walk. The blind man who he healed. Finally, Lazarus, who he raised from the dead. All of these miracles that Christ did in front of the people to show us his power. And then finally, the power of his own resurrection. It was not a mistake. It was not by chance that God did all these things publicly. It was so that we could witness the power of God. And that power is what gives us the strength and the courage to approach God. Because through the witness of the church, through 2000 years worth of God’s miracles and his power and his compassion, this is how we now have the faith to come to God and to beg for compassion.

But it doesn’t end with us, my brothers and sisters. We now are the ones who have to be the witnesses of God’s power and his grace and his love to the other people of our society. We are here. We believe. We have seen the power of God. It’s now our responsibility to be the witnesses to those who have not seen God. To witness to those who have not felt his power or seen his mercy, so they too could have the courage to come and beg for God’s compassion, and his mercy, and his blessing.

This is the great gift of Pascha. Not something we keep to ourselves, but something that we now can bring to the people of Tarpon Springs to give them hope for a better life. Not a richer life necessarily, but a better life in God. And we know it is possible because we have seen his power and we have felt his mercy, and we have experienced and received his compassion.

So you now have the charge of God. Go forth. When you leave the doors of this church today, be a witness of God’s power and God’s mercy and his love, so that anyone and everyone we meet, we don’t beat it over their heads. Don’t take your Bible out like a bat. But in your life, witness to God’s love and power. And through that light of the resurrected Christ, we can be a witness to others so they too can come and receive the compassion and healing love of God. Christ is Risen!

Episode 425 – Compassion from God

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