Lent Day 36: Have mercy on me, a sinner.

Our contributor today Rev. Tuhina Verma Rasche has a complicated relationship with Jesus. She lives a hyphenated life as a second-generation Indian-American woman raised in a devout Hindu household and often finds herself in liminal spaces. She is ordained in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and is called to work for the representation of God’s full diversity in the church. She loves stories and believes sharing narratives are integral to building relationships.

She blogs at This Lutheran Life and Medium (Tuhina Verma Rasche) is a contributing writer to The Salt Collective and is also on Twitter.

“Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

I carry an Anglican rosary with me wherever I go. In times of stress, anxiety, or despair, the rosary is in hand, my fingers running over now chipped and worn beads. I deeply breathe in, holding the breath in my chest, and I breathe out

“Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

I move to the next bead. And I repeat the ritual over and over again until I can remember to breathe on my own.

I oftentimes forget to breathe. I oftentimes feel the weight of the world on my chest. In these days, the weight feels overwhelming because powers and principalities, structures and institutions, are out to stop the living breath of so many beloveds of God’s good creation.

By Sarum blue (published in English Wikipedia by Sarum blue) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

On this final day of the Kyrie Project, there are thousands of people taking to the streets to demand the right to breathe, yet if we are going to take to the streets to fight for the lives of our beloveds, we must take to the streets for *all* beloveds. In the days, weeks, months, and years before today, so many have taken to the streets to protest, demonstrate, and cry out that mercy must be shown to not just a select few, but to all peoples. We must remember that on a day such as this. Those who have come before us have taken their embodied form, have taken on a radical compassion, have taken on not just kindness, but a mercy that is life-giving and life-saving, to put their bodies on the line to ensure that their neighbor, the beloved created in the holy image of God, can breathe. Thousands marching for Civil Rights to this very day, their bodies battered and bruised by oppressive powers. The Salt March that inspired a country to throw off imperial rule, a rule that robbed a land and commodified bodies across the globe.

A procession of people laying down palm leaves and their very clothing as a brown skinned Jewish man entered the city of Jerusalem many years ago.

The Jesus Prayer that helps me breathe and reminds me that mercy is not just something that we can pray as siloed individuals. We take to the streets as community, embodying a mercy that is not just for an individual, but for all peoples. With our collective breath, we can unite our voices into a powerful force to profess our vulnerability and humanity to those who seek to extinguish all forms of mercy in this world.

The mercy that is in the Jesus Prayer reminds me that we are part of a crucified body. The mercy of that prayer reminds me that a first century brown Jewish Galilean man was followed by people who didn’t completely understand what was happening, yet this man showed an abundant mercy in revealing his scars in a resurrected body, breathing to give us life anew.

“Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner.”