Galen Pearl

Galen Pearl

Galen Pearl

The Mercy Seat

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge. ~Psalm 91:4

In the Hebrew Bible, God gives directions to Moses to build a temple. Within the temple, in the most sacred inner room, Moses is instructed to build a “mercy seat” of pure gold and to place it above the ark of the covenant. “There I will meet with you,” promises God.

I am no Bible scholar, so my mind is uncomplicated by specific knowledge about this seat. In my imagination, the mercy seat is the thin place where we encounter the divine (by whatever name we choose).  God does not meet with us on the seat of judgment, or the seat of vengeance.  There is no separation here, no hatred, no fear.  Only mercy, only love.

If I sit on the mercy seat, I will be bathed in the light of divine love, filled with the basic goodness of the universe.  My spirit will be purified and mercy will spill over like a golden fountain, flowing wherever I hold judgment and condemnation, washing away everything that is born of fear, imbuing what has been dark with a light so brilliant that nothing is left in shadow. 

I have held this image in my heart recently as I have struggled to forgive and release a situation that continues to churn in my spirit.  When I feel myself sucked back towards that whirlpool of anger and blame and fear and pain, I picture myself on the mercy seat, opening my soul to the sacred energy of the universe, asking for mercy for myself and for those against whom I harbor thoughts of separation and judgment. 

The true gift of grace is that the line between giving and receiving mercy immediately disappears as soon as mercy is asked for or offered.  Mercy never flows only one direction, but washes over both the giver and the recipient.

Imagining myself on the golden seat of mercy is humbling.  Grace is so exquisite, the limitless generosity of the universe so sublime, that my grievances simply melt away.  I am bewildered that I ever thought them important, worthy of my attention and energy.  What are they compared to this glorious freedom from what entraps my soul? 

To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.  –Lewis B. Smedes

18 thoughts on “The Mercy Seat”

  1. I had never heard of this concept before your post, Galen. It is a lovely image and reminds me of a mantra that I sometimes repeat when I'm in a difficult place. It always helps. Sending your much love and gratitude for your enlightenment.

  2. This reflection is simply stunning, and oh, so true, Galen. How can we meet with God on His mercy seat and not know that forgiveness of others is tantamount? May His mercies abound in you!

  3. Thanks, DJan. I don't have a particular mantra, but I went to a yoga class for a while that used mantras during the class. I can appreciate how they help bring you into your spiritual center.

  4. Forgiveness is a choice. Not a feeling.

    You may have been hurt badly, and the pain is still there. This is natural. As humans, we have memories, and the bigger the hurt the longer it will take to forget. Sometimes never.

    But we choose to forgive. By that, I mean we harbour no ill-will, thoughts of revenge, retribution or anything negative towards those who have hurt us. We forgive, even if forgiveness has not been asked for. It is difficult. I know from experience. But we try again and again.

    And when we fail, we ask God to forgive on our behalf. We tell Him we have forgiven as best as is humanly possible. May He forgive in His own Divine way.

    Praying for you.

    God bless.

  5. Perfect explanation of forgiveness, Victor. Thank you. I'm reminded of the amazing example of forgiveness by the Amish community of the man who came into one of their schoolhouses and shot 10 little girls. A book was written about this called Amish Grace. So inspiring.

  6. These were truly beautiful thoughts. Your writings were very poetic. I felt the words today and loved them all. Thanks for sharing your conceps, wisdom and poetic way of writing. Forgiving and forgiveness are such great gifts given to us by a very loving Heavenly Father and our beloved Savior who paid the price for it all.
    I loved the last quote; it was a good one.
    Sening loving thoughts your way!

  7. What a powerful post, Galen. I had to read it several times because there's so much to take in. You've painted a remarkable picture of the Creator accepting and nurturing his/her creation. You're exactly right–it is very humbling to know that we are welcome at the mercy seat. Thank you, Galen!!

  8. Thank you, LeAnn, for your kind words. Forgiveness, or even a willingness to forgive, is our key to freedom. Always so nice to hear from you.

  9. Thanks, Pam. I'm so glad this spoke to you. That image of the mercy seat is so powerful, and I loved it that God said that is where we meet.

  10. This is so amazing, I had never ever pictured the Holy of Holies like you expressed it here.Galen. This is so powerful. In this view there is no separation or fear of the divine. We are one with the divine. The "I Am" presence sits on the mercy seat not as a vindictive and angry Yahweh but as one single universal being and we are "that" also. So your analogy of sitting on the mercy seat is the exact opposite of the unapproachable, monarchical view of God we have historically had and feared. This God was separate from us and we could not enter into its presence.There was always perceived in humankind a veil of separation, the curtain that separated the temple from the Holiest place called the Holy of Holies, where the mercy seat and the ark of the covenant rested. Only a high priest could enter, once a year, after proper sacrifice and purification rituals had taken place. Us sitting on the mercy seat is a picture of the God-Self in us, the child(son)of God holding the position of mercy. We are like fractals(copies) of God, made in the exact same Spirit image. The sitting on the mercy seat makes me envision a little child who in the days of the original temple would go in unnoticed by the priests and playfully sit on the holy seat. The child would have no perception of the angry God but would just delight in the light of the divine presence.No harm would befall the innocent child because it had no guilt, sense of separation or fear.The child bypassed the ritual process and entered in naturally and was accepted with open arms by the holy one. This is the picture Jesus gave us in "Abba" Father phrase and the need to enter into presence, the kingdom and throne room of God, as a little child. This is the view of God that is being realized more and more by modern humans as our consciousness is being raised concerning what God really is. Thanks for writing this ..I like your view of God.

  11. Thanks for the kind words, Brian. Your comment offer a stark contrast to God/Love. You are right that the God who claims vengeance is quite different from the God who welcomes that innocent child into his presence. Thanks for commenting.

  12. "God does not meet with us on the seat of judgment, or the seat of vengeance. There is no separation here, no hatred, no fear. Only mercy, only love.If I sit on the mercy seat, I will be bathed in the light of divine love, filled with the basic goodness of the universe. My spirit will be purified and mercy will spill over like a golden fountain, flowing wherever I hold judgment and condemnation, washing away everything that is born of fear, imbuing what has been dark with a light so brilliant that nothing is left in shadow. "

    I woke up thinking about the vision of God you portrayed here. I love that the veil of separation has been ripped asunder, access to the divine is now wide open. There is now no condemnation,no fear, no judgement there is only forgiveness, mercy and love. We can bath in the light of the divine glory.We enter in as a little child of God, in innocence, there is no longer any concept of sin and separation.This is actually the pure teaching of the Christ, after you remove the multiple layers of fear based religion that was placed over it, over the centuries. It reminds me of the old master Paintings, in their original state these paintings were brilliant the colors were pure. Over time a veil of old varnish and dirt concealed the paintings truth underneath. When we remove the outer opaque layers, then we can see clearly the glory, the brilliance and the beauty hidden from our view for so long. This made my day. Thanks again Galen.

  13. This is full of such beautiful imagery! It softens something that holds so tightly inside….as if I can relax into my own soul. Thank you for sharing this.

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