This letter encompassing struggle, this violent gargling and gurgling letter chet…
…is the first letter of the key Hebrew word for grace.
It’s a word of zeal, passion, and ardor; a word filled with desire to embrace, to protect, not for a moment but for a lifetime. It’s frequently called “covenant love.”
Just don’t sterilize it into a legal transaction.
Don’t forget to gargle violently when you say it.
For the first sound of grace is the sound of struggle – and the first sound is the one that’s stressed.
What’s the struggle?
I see mercy and justice squaring off, hands raised in a test of strength.
Which will prevail?
Which will win out?
James answers for us: “Justice will be without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy, but mercy triumphs over justice.”
Though I prefer to see this not as a smackdown with justice tapping out.
I hear the violent gargling, the clash of the bottom and top of the Divine throat in conflict, until the clash, making a thorny passage, leads to an open door where mercy and justice kiss, and thus begins the great Divine dance.
And all this, before we even realized it was happening.
Before we were even a breath or a sigh.
Chesed ultimately has everything to do with the triune essence embedded in all of reality, little to do with us, nothing to do with any sensed suitability within or without.
Yes, mercy wins.
Just don’t forget to gargle.