Pause + Pray

Mercy and Mourning

young man putting head in his hands


“They shall look on him whom they have pierced, and mourn as if for an only son.” When we read these words from Zechariah 12:10, our thoughts may immediately turn to the Jesus’ passion and crucifixion. But if we look into the context of this chapter of Zechariah, we will discover something startling. These words refer to the Jewish exiles, returning from Babylon. It should be a moment of great celebration, but instead they begin to mourn. It seems paradoxical, but the experience of mercy and kindness are often what actually stir us to repentance; often it is mercy and kindness that open our eyes to the reality of sin and to the unwavering love of God.


Heavenly Father,
Open my eyes to those that I have pierced through sin;
and give me the courage and humility to ask forgiveness
and to return always to the healing mercy of your love.


Set aside 15 minutes today to meditate on God’s mercy. God is merciful, even when we don’t deserve it, even when we don’t ask for it. Can you remember a time when someone forgave you even before you asked? How did that make you feel? Were you grateful? Surprised? Relieved? Did you feel a sense of freedom? Recall that moment and the face of that person. Look into his/her eyes. Let that memory, that face, those eyes, and that feeling become for you an icon of God’s mercy made flesh.

Herman Sutter

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