GraceNotes: Holding the Space for … Reflection

#69 — January 1, 2018

A little bit of mercy makes the world less cold and more just.

— Pope Francis

Greetings, Inspired Seekers!

Happy New Year! It's hard to imagine that 2018 has arrived with all of the blessings and challenges that a new year will bring. But, here we are, poised and ready to listen, reflect and engage. Or are we? What are you contemplating for this year as spiritual paths unfold with twists, turns, offshoots and the occasional dead end? What shall we use for a road map?

I suggest - the year of grace and mercy. As we look around the temporal word, can we agree that grace and mercy seem to be in short supply and greatly needed? Well, actually, grace is always here - we just have to slow down and welcome it. Easier said than done at times. But mercy, well, that's another story. And many traditions have mercy stories to share.

The Jewish tradition includes the prayer of the 13 Attributes of Mercy and it is an important prayer. Those who practice Kabbalah often recite this prayer as a prelude to removing the Torah from the Ark during certain holy festivals.

The Christian tradition sees mercy and grace as sisters. All is grace, and mercy is her companion. Mercy is your most profound way of seeing the world, your most complete and compassionate sense of generosity, and a spirit of abundance that guides us through the everyday messiness of this life. Mercy, true mercy, allows us to give completely and without judgment.

The Sufi poet, Rumi, said, “Be like the sun for grace and mercy.” Indeed, he understood the all-giving warmth and nurturing provided through the light. Can we do the same?

In an era where taunting and vitriol are commonplace, where judgment of complete strangers on a page has become normal, it seems as though mercy, through grace, is what we are called to offer. And the blessings are deep; for when we live through grace and mercy our edges soften. We recognize the limits of rejection, denial, judgment and hatred. We are more open to thoughtful listening and discernment than to the defensive postures we take in times of stress.

So, dear readers, as we enter into a new year, there is only one question to ask of ourselves: Are the words and actions I am about to use guided by grace and mercy? If the answer is no, perhaps we have work to do.

Grace-Fully Yours,
Reverend Deborah

Monthly Affirmation:I walk in grace and offer mercy with every step I take in a sometime-broken-world.

For all of your sacred celebrations and milestones in the coming year, the Reverend Dr. Deborah Darlington can create meaningful ceremonies that will honor your beliefs and those of your beloveds. She can be reached at 215 260 1611 or at