Archive for March 19th, 2022

Mercy as an Antidote


Written by Mary Ann Whittier (Johansen)

Recently Pastor Jack reminded us that Jesus personified the prophecy of Micah 6:8. He has showed you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God ?”  I remember Jimmy Carter using this verse at his inauguration as President. Troubled by current culture preaching “racial justice” and “demand justice,”  I decided to look more closely at this scripture. The footnotes in my RSV Harper Study Bible reminded me that this is not God’s only requirement. Some Jews of Micah’s era adopted those principles of a virtuous life, but their faith was empty and hypocritical.

 Looking to the King James translation, as I am not a scholar of Hebrew or Greek, I found Micah urging us to “act justly” or “do justly,” rather than to just “do justice.”  To me, this verb, act, is crucial to personal behavior that Jesus taught us. When justice becomes a political committee, one loses sight of mercy. Mercy is the word translators at the time of King James used instead of Kindness.  Mercy is what God extends to us; it’s nice to be kind but in the reality of injustice, mercy is an excellent antidote.

To walk humbly with thy God or your God shows a sense of a drift in the English language but that King James also replaces man with mortal.  That is an excellent reminder that there is a God and it’s not me or you.  The prophet Micah reminds us that words can be preempted.  Please don’t “do justice” but “act justly.”  


From the Gregorian Sacramentary, a 10th century illuminated manuscript ascribed to Gregory 1.

O God, the Protector of all that trust in You, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy, increase and multiply upon us Your mercy; that, You being our Ruler and Guide, we may so pass through things temporal that we finally lose not the things eternal. Grant this, O heavenly Father, for Jesus Christ’s sake our Lord. Amen.


God of Mercy and Compassion Performed by Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles.  

This Lenten hymn about God’s mercy was written by English Redemptorist priest Edmund Vaughan (1827-1908) and commonly set to the traditional French tune “Au Sang Qu’un Dieu.”

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