Read the article 'Mercy notes: Mercy in Spirituality' and answer the following questions. Then share your answers in pairs, small groups or in a classroom discussion.
1. What does the word ‘mercy’ mean?
2. Where in the New Testament do we read that Jesus is our ‘merciful liberator’ or saviour?
3. Do you think humans are weak, because we rely on God’s mercy? Explain.
4. How could our reliance on God’s mercy make us strong?
5. What does the word ‘exalt’ mean? Why do you think the simple prayer of the unknown tax collector allowed for God to exalt him?
1. Merciful reflection: Write a one page reflection on what God’s mercy means to humankind. Some questions to get you started:
a. What is God’s mercy?
b. Why is God’s mercy important to human beings?
c. What separates us from God?
d. Why do we need God’s mercy?
e. Why do we need Jesus?
2. Persuasive Speech: Write a two minute speech persuading your classmates why relying on God’s mercy makes human beings strong. Make sure to include scripture verses to back up your claims. When you are finished, present your speech to your class.
3. Interfaith Activity: Research a ritual of repentance and forgiveness in another tradition, such as the Jewish observance of Yom Kippur or the Muslim practice of the Hajj (the pilgrimage to Mecca). How is God's mercy reflected in this practice? What are the similarities and differences to our Christian understanding of sin and forgiveness?
For younger students
Merciful Jesus and you: Pick a story in the New Testament where Jesus shows mercy. Then think of how you could apply this example of Jesus’ mercy to your own life. Then fold a piece of A4 paper in half and on one side illustrate the story of Jesus’ mercy. On the other side draw how you are going to follow Jesus’ example in your own life. Below your drawings write a short description of each picture.
When you are finished, share your picture with your class or hang it up for everyone to see!