Text: Matthew 1:21-28
We’ve all heard someone say, “Lord, have mercy!” Perhaps you use that exclamation yourself. In rural areas especially among older people, this plea often gets shortened to “Mercy me!” Both are condensed versions of the ancient prayer of the Church: “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me!”
I’ve been thinking a lot about mercy recently. While we are in an interim period with our youth ministry, I have been writing curriculum for our youth Sunday school classes. Last summer we put together an outline for the lessons and Heath Gardner wrote them for the three age groups through the fall. Now I’ve picked up this task for the spring. Why are we writing our own curriculum? Because it is nearly impossible to find study materials that fit our church and our youth. Publishing houses have to make money on the materials they sell, so they write for as wide an audience as possible. There just aren’t enough progressive Baptist churches—or even progressive churches generally – to make writing specifically for the left end of the church very profitable. So we’ve taken to writing our own. Our J2A group, which stands for “Journey to Adulthood,” includes our 8th and 9th graders. They are spending the Sunday school year considering the question: How Will I Live? Becoming the Person I Want to Be. Using biblical stories, they discuss a character trait each week and reflect on whether it is one they exhibit already or if not, if it’s one they want to develop.