Having just recently finished my 40 Days of cHesed -- and being very sorry to have missed the conversation on Friday -- I chimed in late on Saturday, if anyone was still following.
This is what I said:
Scot -- woohoo! A post on hesed!
The Abbess is totally bummed to basically have missed this conversation, but I'll jump in and make an observation or two about the nature of hesed, if I may....
I believe that the point of hesed is faithful covenant-keeping -- with God and with others in the covenant. This speaks to hesed-as-agape, where we are to faithfully have deliberate affection for one another (Jesus Creed!). It also speaks to hesed-as-charis, where we are to faithfully provide grace needed rather than what might be deserved. And it also speaks to hesed-as-eleos, where are to faithfully provide mercy that initiates that which the other needs in order to be able to keep covenant.
These attitudes motivate proper response. Love responds to the other with submission -- restraining my want to their true need (not their want). Honor and respect are needs we all have, eh? But submission cannot be made when it is not supporting the other's ability to keep covenant. We cannot support covenant breaking activity -- and this is where speaking the truth in love enters.
Jesus honored Mary and Joseph in so many ways throughout his life, but he did not honor them above his Heavenly Father's will. So, the Temple at 12 and Mary and the family coming to "take Jesus home."
Grace responds to the other with service -- working for their best interest to be served. Humble service that enables another to keep covenant is a treasure.
Jesus lived a live of service to others -- and it is the indwelling Holy Spirit's grace that serves us at all times so that we may be able to keep covenant.
Mercy responds to the other with leadership -- taking initiative to help the other success in keeping covenant faithfully.
Jesus showed mercy that risks by taking the initiative to lead others toward obedience and faithfulness -- sometimes by turning over tables and taking the Elders on head to head, and sometimes by touching the untouchable and healing on the Sabbath.
Hesed is a much bigger concept than most grasp -- or, it is quite simple to comprehend (if one will take the time), but it requires the presence of, and submission to, faithful covenant-keepers around us (and the Holy Spirit within us) to help us practice this foundational faithfulness ... one relationship at a time!