Out of the depths I cry to You, Lord! O Lord, hear my voice! Let Your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy” (Psalm 130:1-2).
For a children’s message in October I had a rope and three scenarios of someone hanging over a cliff on the rope. This article is going to expound on that concept.
The first scenario was a young child who was tied securely to the rope with four strong people on the other end ready to pull. The child was in a desperate need (hanging over a cliff) but he could cry out “for mercy” that the four strong people would pull him to safety. Christians have a never-ending Great Commission to “Go…and make disciples of all nations…” (Matthew 28:19). To neglect that commission (God’s desires, God’s command) is not right; that is a sin. “The wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6;23a). Individual Christians are in a desperate need for their church body to send, equip, support strong people, whom they are attached to, to pursue the Great Commission. Praise God for those who are willing to be sent and those who support them.
The second scenario had a slightly older child holding onto the rope with both hands and the rope was tied to a rock. The child was in desperate need and the “pleas for mercy” would include a large, secure, immovable rock, a good rope, and personal strength in order to pull himself up. Christians have a variety of commands for Godly living that we are in desperate need for secure, immovable teachings, good mentors, and strength in order that we can pursue God’s will. Consider the Fourth Commandment; “Honor your father and mother.” A person shall not (cannot) passively let others fulfill that for them. Effort and discipline must come from the person. If someone does not show honor to parents and other authorities, it is a sin. “The wages of sin is death… (Romans 6:23a). Christians are in desperate need of God’s direction, guidance, and discipline to have us follow through on showing honor to authorities in our lives.
The third scenario had a child with broken legs, a bad arm, and the other arm with only the “pinky” finger able to grasp the rope. The rope this time was attached to a piece of grass. The “pleas for mercy” in this situation are extreme. The child has nothing he can do, nor that others could do for him. People are continually in this extreme desperate condition because Christians know and confess that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). We have Jesus words, “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). The bar is set exceedingly high, and we are mere humans. “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). All people are in desperate need for Divine forgiveness. Like the child holding onto the poorly secured rope with only a “pinky” finger, there is nothing we can do but “plea for mercy.” We cannot work for, buy, or get ourselves out of the situation, nor can others do it for us. God has given the “free gift…in Christ Jesus our Lord” which is the forgiveness of sins.
God’s “free gift” (grace) is the only answer and that grace is generously distributed through the Word and Sacraments. Praise be to God!
The Lord be with you,