Mercy Abounds

Last Sunday (8-7-22) I posted about a fisherman pastor and mercy. The theme came to me again this morning during my prayer time. When Bill Moyers offered a PBS television series on poetry he featured Coleman Barks. Barks is a renowned poet in his own right and a scholar on Rumi translations. Rumi was a 13th-century Persian poet and Sufi mystic born in 1207. He died 1273.

I can just hear you commenting, “Leave it to Molly to find these ancient guys!” Well at times these ancient guys express what my heart says in better words than I can find. Back to Coleman Barks’ translation of Rumi.

In a poem entitled “Cry Out In Your Weakness” I was touched. My weakness has been brought very clear to me this past few weeks. If you have never experienced helplessness or weakness in your physical frame you might not be able to relate well to this post.

I began reading Rumi a few years ago when I found others quoted him repeatedly. Besides I like poetry. On Page 156 of my paperback copy of “The Essential Rumi” this poem translated by Coleman Barks is found. Here are a few lines.

Like Mercy itself, they run toward the screaming …

And don’t just ask for one mercy. Let them flood in. Let the sky open under your feet.

Give your weakness to one who helps.

Cry out! Don’t be stolid and silent with your pain. Lament! And let the milk of loving flow into you.

-Rumi, Cry Out In Your Weakness

If you want to hear Rumi’s poem read, look for Rumi – Cry Out in Your Weakness on You Tube.

During my prayer time I sensed again, do not stop at asking for one mercy. Ask for every mercy. Gather them up. Let the One who helps bind them up and help carry them back with you.

Lord, I need all of your mercies … new every morning and each day and night… I need healing mercy and faith mercy and writing mercy and inspiration from You mercy. I need behavior and patience mercy.

Yes, God’s mercies are new every morning. He blesses us with mercy and forgiveness, comfort in our suffering, grace in our humility. As we cry out He does what William Law spoke about. We yield to Him in patient, meek, humble resignation and He is there to bless and assist us in every way. Not perhaps our every wish, but the ways we truly need His help.

One interpretation of the poem: “A dragon was pulling a bear into it’s terrible mouth.” Discouragement was pulling a Christian into it’s terrible mouth. As one author wrote about discouragement, “I have discovered only one solution to this problem, ignoring my emotions. It doesn’t mean that I do not acknowledge my feelings, but rather that I do not allow my emotions to dictate my life. My faith in God, my love for God, is more important than how I feel. This is exactly what it means to die to oneself.” ( Hey! William Law and Andrew Murray taught me that same thing!!

A courageous man went and rescued the bear.” His name is Jesus. He went to the cross and rescued us from all the merciless places in our lives. “Like Mercy itself, (He) ran toward the screaming.” Perhaps you have not been screaming out loud, but the Lord knows even your internal screaming. Call to Him. He is faithful to respond.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,
    his mercies never come to an end;
 they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul,
    ‘therefore I will hope in him.’

Lamentations 3:22-24 NRSV

I do not find it difficult or even sacrilegious to relate to Rumi’s poetry. I truly believe what Paul declared in Ephesians 4.

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling,  one Lord, one faith, one baptism,  one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.

Ephesians 4:4-6 NRSV

I pray you, too, will cry out to God, even screaming, and receive His help and deliverance from the mouth of your particular bear.

As Matt Redman wrote “May I never lose the wonder, oh the wonder of Your mercy. Hallelujah!”

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