You do this, and I should keep silence?
Do you think that I am like you?
A sacrifice of thanksgiving honours me,
and I will show God’s salvation to the upright.
Psalm 49 : 21, 23
‘Do you think that I am like you?’ Too often, yes, I do think exactly that–that God is like me, like a human being. I mistake God for a finite being, whose love has limits, who can be offended in a way that makes forgiveness difficult. But God isn’t like that. As one translation of the Benedictus has it, ‘through the bottomless mercy of our God / one born on high will visit us’.
I like that. God isn’t like us. God’s mercy is ‘bottomless’–an inexhaustible reservoir of love and forgiveness. In my finitude, I run out. I run out of patience; my will to forgive fails. Bitterness creeps in, and resentment, too. But God has none of that: only love, and mercy, and patience, and compassion. I bring my failings and disappointments to God, and receive in return grace, and delight, and joy.
That doesn’t sound very Lenten. But all the penitential practices of Lent aim precisely at this goal: to make space for that joy and delight that should fill our hearts at Easter.