And Mary said,
My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is on those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm, he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts, he has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of low degree. He has filled the empty with good things, and the rich he has sent empty away. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity forever.
I have been involved in mercy work with the church and am an unabashed supporter of the churches life of mercy and I am adamant that politics is destructive of real mercy and deadly in it’ s application of what it calls “mercy”. I have seen Lutheran Social Service organizations corrupted by the theological twisting of mercy into justice and the search to amalgamate legislative action into a theological vision of grace, while seeking to circumvent laws that did not meet with their views. Remember that when this blog talks about mercy we are talking about a compassion for the hurting that is the result of the compassion shown to us by Christ as the Lord of the Church. The theologically freighted words of compassion and mercy and grace and divinity have been devalued even as some try and express them as defining their values. When all this happens we have a tremendous confusion of Law and Gospel. Some will stand up and say that we must have the ability to practice social activism in order to achieve a higher end than politics alone. Interestingly that concept in the real world is only allowed to one side.
So bear with me as I try and make a point about all this religious value talk brought to us as an unguent for what has become truly evil. Greasing the skids for anarchy and chaos isn’t easy unless you can change the meaning of words, and of course that has been done to great success recently. Also value talk has to do with the ability to subsume values under a veneer of patriotism or altruism or the wonderful catch all phrase, “the end justifies the means”. Jesus as “the Word” certainly knew the importance of words and He set the limits of man’s words with statements that we should let our “no be no and our yes, yes” rather than swearing oaths. He was pointedly nasty when He talked about lies and the father of lies being the devil.