When we at YouthCUE decided to provide our network a new video series for Holy Week 2021, we immediately began thinking about titles. We sought to find a worthy word or a short substantive phrase which would capture our imagination and focus on the heart of the Lenten-Holy Week-Easter message. We tossed around several possibilities, and many were quite good.
Then it suddenly came to us: Mercy.
Immediately, we knew that was it. Mercy captures so much, and yet it cannot be fully contained in any series, any newsletter, any book.
Mercy seems such a timely theme for 2021. Pandemic. Political division. Racial injustice. Economic struggle. School closures. In every area, we need mercy … and mercy aplenty!
Succinctly, mercy says what God gave us and did for us.
Recognizing our need for God’s mercy is central to being a follower of Jesus. Furthermore, admitting our need for mercy is also at the core of our relationships with others. In other words, everyone needs to receive mercy for ourselves, and everyone needs to give mercy to others.
When we grant mercy to someone else, we are simply passing on the grace-gift God gives to us. And amazingly, when we “give it away,” we do not have to give up or even reduce the mercy we have received. In fact, when we pass it on to others, the gift of mercy has a way of growing and expanding to meet the need for ourselves, our families, our neighbors, our friends, and yes, even our enemies. In short, mercy can meet the needs of the whole world!
The making of the video series is also a lesson in mercy. Our choir – a hybrid ensemble of eighteen, comprised of singers of the San Antonio Youth Chorale and the Sanctuary Choir of Woodland Church – rehearsed and recorded socially distanced with masks the whole time. The black masks were emblematic of what the past year-plus has been as we have sought to survive separation, isolation, disease, and social turmoil. The masks are a reminder that we are all oppressed by something, something which not only muffles our voices but also makes it more difficult to draw a simple breath of fresh air.
May God has mercy on us … as individuals, as families, as a society trying to find our way, as the church seeking to provide light in the darkness, as choral musicians seeking to reflect truth and joy through our art, and as believers seeking to be the hands and feet of Jesus. May God have mercy on all of us, and may we be joyful distributors of the mercy we receive!
Kyrie eleison. Lord, have mercy.
Musical meditations for Holy Week 2021
Palm Sunday, February 28 through Easter Sunday, April 4
with homilies by Garrett Vickrey
Episodes released daily at www.youthcue.org