1.  Have mercy


Welcome to this series of devotionals during the season of Lent.   Starting on February 18th, I will be posting a devotional for each of the forty days of Lent (this excludes Sundays).    Join me as we journey through this season of penance and reflection through a daily consideration of Psalm 51 — a phrase at a time.  I will juxtapose the Psalm phrase with another passage of scripture, perhaps from a gospel, epistle or other text drawn from the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament).   Through these two daily scriptural selections, we will probe together the Christian experience and meaning of following our Lord as he makes his way to the cross — and beyond.  I welcome your comments and reflections as we make our way along.

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love.”      

                                                                                –  Psalm 51:1a 

Psalm 51 is traditionally known as the psalm written by King David after he preys upon Bathsheba and then is confronted by the prophet Nathan for his actions.  David crumpled to his knees, either literally or in spirit, and cried out in words and script,  “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love.”   Have mercy. 

Across the gospels, Jesus regularly encounters those who beseech him with those same words.   Have mercy.   There were fathers or mothers crying out to Jesus on behalf of a sick child;  lepers;  those suffering demons — or this pair of blind men:

There were two blind men sitting by the roadside. When they heard that Jesus was passing by, they shouted, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!”   The crowd sternly ordered them to be quiet; but they shouted even more loudly, “Have mercy on us, Lord, Son of David!”  Jesus stood still and called them, saying, “What do you want me to do for you?” They said to him, “Lord, let our eyes be opened.”  Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes. Immediately they regained their sight and followed him.   (Matthew 20:30-34)

As we enter into this season of Lent, how mindful are we of our own need for mercy?   Has some person or event in our lives helped to make it clear to us that we need to seek God’s grace and forgiveness?   Are we so bold as to ask for this mercy — or even shout for it?


Ever gracious God,

As we step into this season of Lent and confront perhaps the pitfalls or challenges in our lives, remind us of your steadfast love — and that it is according to just this love that we may ask you today to have mercy upon us.