I know that I’m a sinner and that I deserve to die for my sins, but what I find is that I have been given life, and life in abundance.
Every day I wake anew and realize that though I have been tried and convicted and am living on Death Row, I have been given yet another reprieve from my sentence, another day in which to serve that part of it, that must be served on earth.
But I am a very bad, a very unworthy servant. I spend my days in idle fantasy, conspiring to sin and to sin boldly whenever I have the chance, whenever the warden is looking the other way, like a pig loving to wallow in its filth. Yet when the Master calls, I am immediately straightened, and I run to Him to do His bidding.
If only He would call me every moment! or do I just pretend not to hear so that I can pursue my nature. Yes, when He calls I run to do His bidding, but in between those calls, I sink back into the darkness in which I was conceived and into which I was born.
Only death, it seems, will cleanse this criminal of the guilt of his crimes. That’s why he begs the governor not to write any further reprieves, though he knows it’s not the governor who writes them, but the King, the Master Himself.
O glorious God whose face is terrifying but whose back is mercy, You who come speaking Your Name to us while hiding us in the cleft of the Rock to shield our weakness from annihilation as You pass by! Why did You create us, knowing that we would instantly fall from Your obedience, drift away from Your love? The mystery of Your nature dwarfs the mystery of our own. How could a sinless God love us who are nothing but sin in the flesh? How could He that is pure Spirit desire us who are but spittle and clay? Yet You do love us, You do desire us, and for this we revere You.
Yes, Lord, Holy One who has descended lower than our fall, we revere You while we run away. Catch us, Lord, don’t let us escape, burn our scoundrel selves by Your divine Fire that purifies without destroying us who cannot in any world deserve such mercy. Yours is the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory of utter humility, of unimaginable self-emptying. Join us with You in that Kingdom, share with us who hate You by our deeds but love You by our sorrows the Power, that the Glory that was Yours before the world ever was, O Christ, fell the forests of our sinful flesh, that we might finally cry out to You, Amen.
Amen, and again we cry, Amen.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us, sinners.