Mercy Flows From the Mighty One2 min read

The classic description of God in the Old Testament, found repeatedly, declares, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (Exodus 34:6 ESV).The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod’s threefold emphasis of Witness, Mercy, Life Together is composed of three rich, Biblical themes for the people of God. Mercy is first and foremost a description of God’s attitude and actions toward us.

The Almighty God of heaven and earth, the King of kings and Lord of lords, the Alpha and the Omega, is merciful toward us though we have in no way deserved this mercy. As William Shakespeare wrote inThe Merchant of Venice, “The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven … Tis mightiest in the mightiest.”

The one true God is mighty, but He is also merciful, therefore He is mighty to save. His mercy is demonstrated fully and completely in the cross of Christ, the ultimate sign and action of grace and undeserved love. It is in the cross that God is found to be “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.”

Lutheran congregations are found in small towns in New England and along the Pacific Northwest coast. There are rural parishes in the Carolinas and the Texas panhandle in addition to the heartland. Each week, the people of God assemble to receive the mercy of God in Christ’s Word, Holy Absolution and in the Lord’s Supper. However, these merciful gifts of God are not only for those who receive, but are gifts given also for the sake of one’s neighbor, one’s spouse and children, one’s co-workers.

The Mighty One is merciful and His mercy shown to sinners such as us transforms us to be merciful to those in need. It is always encouraging to see the saints of God respond in acts of mercy when there is a natural disaster of some kind. However, each day people around us are dealing with the disaster of sin.

The mercy of God encountered through Word and Sacraments enables us to be merciful to those around us in need. Members of small congregations are sent out into their communities every week as God works through them in their unique vocations to bring His mercy to a world in need. These acts of mercy can take many different shapes, from clothing and food to vocational training and counseling services, but what is common is that these acts flow from the Mighty and Merciful One.

LCMS Rural and Small Town Mission supports and encourages rural and small town congregations in engaging their communities and growing together in Christ through Word and Sacrament. Learn more or visit them on Facebook at

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About the Author

Rev. Dr. Lee Hagan is the Interim Director for LCMS Rural and Small Town Mission.

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