Slow your breathing and become aware of the taking in and letting out of your breath. Focus on putting things aside so you will be open to what God is saying to you today.
Psalm 130 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord. Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications! If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with you, so that you may be revered. I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning, more than those who watch for the morning. O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is great power to redeem. It is he who will redeem Israel from all its iniquities.
Out of the depths, I cry… Wow! How many times have I found myself in such a place? We don’t always talk about redemption. Redemption implies that something is in need of being redeemed. Something needs renewal. If we talk about redemption, we must talk of sin. Oh man, that’s not a fun word. But the reality is that, “should the Lord mark iniquities, who could stand?” We like to focus on the ‘grace’ aspect of our faith, and there is nothing wrong with that. However, lest we fall into what Dietrich Bonhoeffer would call ‘cheap grace’ we need to acknowledge the fact that grace is needed because of our iniquities. Redemption is so sweet because it is needed. Grace is so Amazing, because it is needed.
Out of the depths, I cry… Over the years, I have tried to convey to various congregations the very real fact that I am a human being, a sinner, in need of God’s grace. I will make mistakes. I will not always do what is right. I will not always act in accordance to God’s will. But, out of the depths, I cry: O God, hear my voice! My iniquities are too many, how can I stand before you?
And then, like a flood of Amazing Grace, I am reminded that there is forgiveness within the very nature of God. There is steadfast love with God and great power to renew and redeem. This is good news! Thanks be to God.
Oh God, out of the depths I cry. Forgive us of those things we have done, and those things we have left undone. Forgive our mindsets of cheap grace and help us to remember the power of redemption and renewal. Let us give thanks and praise for your steadfast love and forgiveness. Amen.
Go with God!