“For I desire mercy, not sacrifice,
It seems that God is not particularly concerned with our outward expressions of worship, at least not as much as he is with our mercy toward others and inward acknowledgement of his lordship. For those of us well-versed in church-ism, this should give us pause to think.
But what does it really mean to "acknowledge God"? I mean, the mercy part feels obvious—engaging in ministries of compassion and justice, caring for the poor, intentionally fostering an attitude of non-judgmental acceptance of people—but how do we acknowledge God?
I think gratitude and prayer play a significant part. Acknowledging God involves recognizing in our hearts and minds that everything of real value that we have comes from him. It's all grace. It's all a gift. This recognition leads to a deep sense of gratitude. It also leads to true humility, to not taking credit away from God for the successes in our lives. It's a recognition that we are--none of us--the captains of our own souls.
While this is humbling—and maybe even humiliating—it is, in the end, freeing. This is what God wants for you: freedom. And it comes through mercy and acknowledging that God is God and you are not.
God of grace, I acknowledge you in this moment.
Every success, every moment of productivity and inspiration,
indeed every breath — it all comes from you.
I confess that I am often blinded by self-importance
and ask for your grace to see the world (and my self)
as it really is and to engage it in a spirit of mercy and grace.