Last night, Lux. teachings took a look at the the theme of mercy, which is very fitting as we look forward to the Jubilee Year of Mercy, at the start of this coming church year.
We had a (very!) small number come along to the evening, but it worked perfectly and there was a great atmosphere in which we all go to know each other a bit better. The group played 'Two truths and a lie' to test just how well they did know each other, which proved to be very interesting!
We then thought about what exactly mercy is, and how sometimes mercy is seen as a sign of weakness. There is no better illustration of this than Sensei John Kreese in The Karate Kid (the original one of course!) who repeatedly drills into his teenage students the mantra, "Strike first, strike hard, no mercy!"
But can mercy be a sign of strength? We looked at a number of different heroes from films (expertly depicted by the young people in a game of charades) to see what kind of strength they showed and what qualities they had in common. A lot of them had physical strength, and, interestingly, a good number of them were quite cocky (think Ironman, Spiderman, Robin Hood, Luke Skywalker!) But how many of them displayed strength through being merciful?
Maximilian Kolbe was a saint who showed the ultimate strength and courage, not by fighting or using his physical prowess, but by being compassionate and giving his life to save another person.
Father explained to us that mercy is one of the defining qualities of God. In Psalm 136 there is the refrain, "His compassion endures forever." (although we sometimes translate it as 'love', the original Hebrew word is a mixture of love and compassion really!) Jesus would have prayed this psalm after the last Supper: repeating that line before his Passion.
And it is Jesus who challenges us to show that same mercy to other people: "Be merciful as your father in heaven is merciful" (Luke 6:36). We have to show mercy and compassion to people, not because it's a nice idea but because that is how God treats us!
Thanks to Father for getting us pizza and 7-Up and well done to the young people who came along!