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Building Faith, Day 26 – The Advocate

January 10, 2016

I tend to think of an advocate as a lawyer, one who defends your side if you think a law has been broken; but Webster says an advocate is one who takes your side, a defender and supporter. Lawyers, like eggs, have taken a bum-rap, for they seem to navigate comfortably in the laws that confound many of us.

My favorite “lawyer” is Portia in Shakespeare’s play, The Merchant of Venice. Dressed as a doctor of law, Portia pleads for mercy when justice will not suffice,  saying “The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth as the gentle rain upon the place beneath. It is twice blessed; it blesses him who gives and him who takes. —- an attribute to God himself and earthly power doth then show liketh God’s, when mercy seasons justice.” Her plea does not penetrate the heart of the accuser, but justice prevails when the accuser can only take a pound of flesh without spilling a drop of blood. This play is not performed much today, for it reveals the prejudices of the 17th century, and we are not comfortable with those tales.

Psalm 26 reminds us of God’s justice. We have all sinned, but – “Judge me, O Lord. Declare me innocent, for I have acted with integrity.” (Well, trying counts, doesn’t it?) Put me on trial and examine me. Test my motives and my heart. Don’t let me suffer the fate of sinners. Don’t condemn me with murderers. Redeem me, and show me mercy: For I have the best advocate – the God of justice and of mercy.

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