Part 7: Chapter 6 – Day 5: Lifting the Burning

Welcome to Day 5 of Chapter 6 from Arise & Shine’s Part 7. Today, Anna is bringing forward the fifth free will offering of The Mercy Seat.

I have never done this before, but there’s always a first. It is 6:30 am here and I was woken just before 5am with a horrific dream. I know Jesus speaks to us through dreams. He’s done so before. And so I got up to pray and to message friends to pray too.

But the funny thing was as I went to message Bettie, I found a reply from her to my earlier message. We were talking about the “untouchables” and how Jesus humbles us to join the untouchables, to become one of them and to bless and be blessed by them. She told me her flare (a burning) was finally lifting.

Now, before you read this – be aware it is deeply disturbing:

A lady (a stranger to us) with a baby in a buggy and two toddlers brings them to us and asks them to bring them to her home later (we decide to walk them there because no car seats for the two toddlers). It is obvious she is afraid and in need of help, immediately. We know God is asking us to help.
Switch to a new dream. I am watching the news and at same time it’s like I am in the midst of what is happening. People just watch and do nothing – except those who are too weak and held back (children, women). A Mom, Dad and two little children are being burned to death.

You may think: but it’s only a dream. Well, around the world, Christians are being persecuted and killed for their faith, even now. Families have been burned to death for bringing the love of Jesus to the untouchables – to those deemed unworthy of love.

Would you pray with me now?

Oh dear God have mercy. Lift the burden of our pain. Lift away our fear. Be so present to all of us, now and in the future. Send your angels to be in our midst. Place your hand upon each of our bodies and souls. Lead us home, into Your heart of mercy. Wrap us in Your protection.

I don’t know how to pray. But thank You for speaking in and through me in my groanings. No sweeter name than the name of Jesus. Jesus Jesus Jesus have mercy on us. Be near. Watch over us.

After I prayed through tears, in the tongue of the Spirit of God in my living room, I began singing this song:

Father, put Your song upon our hearts and our lips. Use the song of Your heart to overwhelm us with Your peace and to lift those who are burning out of the flames. Thank You that Your peace passes all understanding. Thank You that You are even now joining all broken and missing parts of Your Body together into a whole. Regulate our heart beat and our breathing by Your Holy Spirit. Become our heart beat and our breath of life in our weakness and our need. Prove Your power and righteousness in and through us. Amen.

Will you join me in my worship? Lifting up the Name of Jesus. Worship is our warfare:

Part 7: Chapter 6 – Day 4: The One

Welcome to Day 4 of Chapter 6 from Arise & Shine’s Part 7. Today, Anna is bringing forward the fourth free will offering of The Mercy Seat.

How long
Oh how long
LORD
Must we
Wait?

Years pass
Hearts ever
Aching
Where is mercy's
Cloak?

The woman with the issue of blood must have wondered this. Eighteen years of suffering and no end in sight. All doctors leaving her bereft, not just of help, but also of all her material wealth. And yet, her hands still stretched out that day afresh, as Jesus walked before her.

Have you ever considered that her healing was in fact not an isolated affair but a communal one? Why else would God wait so long to intervene? Have you ever considered that His Word to this precious soul was not just intended for the one who put her faith in Jesus?

Jesus stopping led to a religious leader's little girl dying (and being resurrected). Jesus stopping led to man's disapproval of an "unrighteous" woman, and Christ's proving of His righteousness as the trump card.

I believe Jesus was not just stopping to heal one suffering woman, but many more through her (including us today). I believe He was tilling the soil of the self-righteous present, preparing them for a harvest of true righteousness in His death and resurrection. And I believe He was and is speaking mercy over other hidden lamps present.

Women who need(ed) to hear Jesus call an outcast, rejected, "unclean", diseased woman: daughter of the Most High King. Women who needed to know they are not forgotten of God, but chosen and appointed for such a time as this. Not to sit in a corner, believing themselves unworthy, but to arise and shine in the light of their Maker's worthiness, who has not forsaken the works of His hands.

Mercy's cloak
Is even now
Stretching
Ever wider.

A coat
Of many colors
Not just given
For one.

But destined
To be
Unraveled
To weave

A greater
Mystery
Of mercy's blood
Shed for all.

To declare
The rejected: chosen
The diseased: healed
The broken: whole.

To prove
The forsaken: appointed
Of God to call
The forsaken: appointed

And chosen
To secure
The reward for
Christ's suffering

Not just
For the one
But for each
And every One.

My Mama waited twenty years to understand her adopted son and to see her daughter come home to Jesus. My little brother waited twenty years for my Mum to stretch out her hands in mercy. I waited twenty years before seeing God answer my little girl prayers for this to unfold and to be born again in my faith.

But in those twenty years, Jesus loved the lost home through the tears of my Mama for my little brother and I. And Jesus gave the voiceless a voice through His compassion pouring out of my little brother and I. And now His courage is being awakened in my little brother and I - as my Mama watches on from the cloud of witnesses.

Even as we don't see God's mercy for us, we become God's mercy to others. He never stops working and moving. Because not one Word of His ever returns void and mercy is a:

Communal Word
A family
Of God
Becoming

Mercy's cloak
Not for one
But for
The One.

Let us take heart:

For our good God is right here with us, beating in our chest:

Part 7: Chapter 6 – Day 3: You Make Us Willing

Welcome to Day 3 of Chapter 6 from Arise & Shine’s Part 7. Today, Bettie and Anna are bringing forward our third free will offering of The Mercy Seat, complementing their own jointly written poem with a poem penned by Christina Georgina Rossetti that is now available in the public domain. We also offer up a jointly written prayer, a collage Bettie made and a worship song of thanksgiving for God’s mercy to us. God bless you all richly.

You Make Us Willing
By Bettie Gilbert and Anna Smit

Is there no one here to speak for me?
She had cried out in her shame.
Buried beneath a sin so deep
With no way to escape
The judgment poured down on her.

But Jesus stepped into the crowd
Bent down on the sand
And waited, waited for her
Accusers
Those without sin to cast the stones.

Woman, He asked,
Where are your accusers now?
None stood here without sin.
Neither do I accuse you then.
Freedom became her theme.

Another woman bore a shame
She knew her part in the sinning game
But saw in Jesus’ eyes
Forgiveness calling her out
Mercy drawing her in.

From the depth of her freedom
Came a Love stronger than shame
For ONE had pled her case.
An offering for mercy’s sake
Of much she was forgiven.

Alabaster jar broken open
Fragrance filled the judging room
A washing clean had happened
Worship spilled the tears there
As Love was finally free.

Jesus pled our case
Jesus spoke up for us
Who could not speak

Are we so willing to speak?
Are we so willing to forgive?
Are we so willing to bring in?

Oh thank You, Jesus!
Our Prince of Peace
Our light in the darkness
YOU make us willing!

You are our shield and portion
The Word upon our heart and lips
Our mercy in forgiveness flowing
The gates of salvation open wide
Jesus bringing in.
What Would I Give?

By Christina Georgina Rossetti

What would I give for a heart of flesh to warm me through,
Instead of this heart of stone ice-cold whatever I do;
Hard and cold and small, of all hearts the worst of all.

What would I give for words, if only words would come;
But now in its misery my spirit has fallen dumb:
O, merry friends, go your way, I have never a word to say.

What would I give for tears, not smiles but scalding tears,
To wash the black mark clean, and to thaw the frost of years,
To wash the stain ingrain and to make me clean again.

Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus. When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.”  Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God.

Luke 5: 18-25 (NIV)

Lord thaw our hearts and call us into Your doorway where You are waiting to overflow such mercy! Prepare and wake up our hearts from numbness and slumber that You might arise and shine in and through us. Make us Your doorway of mercy to others and a Voice for the voiceless. Take off our self-protective covering that Your blood alone may overshadow us and speak for us.

Thank You that Your mercy living in us – Your blood shed for us – cannot be hoarded. Thank You that You are breaking us – Your sacred and anointed vessels- open that You might reveal Your communal and family blessing. Flow now as oil in and through us freely and out upon the heads of those You have woven us together with.

Thank You that You are even now, weaving us all together in mercy, making us all One in Your righteous judgment – in Your perfect love that is flowing from Your royal throne of grace and shall endure forever and ever.

Thank You that when we are weak, You are strong. Thank You that You who are in us are stronger than he who is in the world. Prove us Yours, oh LORD. Keep us Yours. Never let us go. Let Your ear in us hearken to hear and Your Voice be set free to speak in and through us. In Your precious Name we pray, Amen!