“(Of) mercy and judgment I will sing unto You, O Lord…(Ἔλεος καὶ κρίσιν ᾷσομαί σοι, Κύριε. / Милость и суд воспою Тебе, Господи.)” (Ps 100/101: 1, LXX)

Our God is both merciful and just. And the cross-carrying Way onto and through which He leads us involves us exercising not only mercy, but also judgment. The latter seems almost counter-cultural in our time, when we seem collectively to be “singing” unto a different god, who requires from us solely that we “be nice.”

But sometimes I need to be “not nice,” (or as I look out my window onto a snow-covered Vienna, “not a snowflake”), both with regard to any unhealthy behavior of my own, and that of others. Just as our Lord Jesus Christ was “not nice” to those buying and selling in His Father’s “house” and drove them out (Jn 2:15), I sometimes need to toughen up and drive out of my “house” any unhealthy behaviors, mindsets, and even relationships, rather than descend into victimhood. Our God is a God Who dignifies me, not only with His abundant mercy and com-passion for my difficulties, but also with His judgment, holding me accountable for making responsible decisions. So, this Nativity Fast or Advent, let me toughen up and keep “cleaning house,” as a disciple of the life-bringing discipline that shines forth from Bethlehem. (Please NOTE, dear friends: I am resuming these reflections only on Mondays, for the next three months, while I write my book on “Walking through Time with Meaning & Presence,” about the theology of time. Please pray for me as I do this, because I can’t do it without you!)