Mark 5:19

But Jesus refused.  “Go back to your home, to your own people,” he said,  “and tell them of all that the Lord has done for you, and how he took pity on you.”


you do know don’t you
mercy is never a degree earned
after which authority is granted

an experience of mercy
is a never-ending reservoir
with which to practice mercy

like Scarecrow’s brain Tinman’s heart
Lion’s courage and Dorothy’s home
once recognized always available

as a mercified person
compassion will float to the top
simply skim it and anoint with it

as a new person
the oldest place is also new
be not timid for I am with you

you are already aboard
HMS Mercy
raise sail adventure forth


It seems true enough that experience is worth more than a certifying authority. With or without a Doctor of Ministry degree, pastoral and missional care is extended.

Do note the lack of notice regarding required and tested knowledge of church history or ecclesiology. There is no systematic theology statement asked for. Even the practical matter of institutional management or clinical pastoral education is set to the side.

What we hear is something that can be done anytime, anywhere.

First, be among those with whom you have common language.

Second, tell your experience.

Third, set the context of your experience in a larger setting. In this case “mercy”.

This mercy is at once a completed reality (“tell what has been done”) and a never-ending beginning (“tell what continues in you”). It is here that more work needs doing as our tendency is to turn a living-mercy into a ritualistic framework in an attempt to re-capture it. Eyes to see the on-going echoes of an original mercy are what keep things alive. More merciful experiences are intended to follow every mercy.

Telling about Jesus is one part of a missional equation. But without showing how our experience of mercy continues to grow, it is but an old story that eventually loses its cachet, unable to renew hearts.

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