Sun, 8 March 2020
(Dn.9:4-10; Ps.79:8-9,11,13,103:10; Lk.6:36-38)
“Deliver us and pardon our sins for your name’s sake.”
It is a cry for forgiveness our psalmist makes to our compassionate God. “Remember not against us the iniquities of the past,” he begs, seeking release from sin’s prison for himself and his people. And Daniel does the same; acknowledging with full throat the sins of Judah and all Israel, he seeks the merciful hand of the Lord upon the people, interceding in their stead. Though he himself is an upright man, he cries out, “We have sinned, been wicked and done evil,” praying thus for the rebellious nation which has been scattered to “all countries” for their failure to heed the command of the Lord.
Well do our Old Testament figures embody Jesus’ teaching in our gospel, summed up simply: “Be compassionate, as your Father is compassionate.” For they “do not judge” or “condemn” those individuals primarily responsible for the apostasy and so the destruction of the kingdom and the covenant, but rather seek earnestly to heal the rift that has come by giving generously of themselves and their love for God and others, in Christlike fashion standing in the breach. And so they earn the titles of prophet and psalmist of God; and so they foreshadow the heavenly compassion Jesus calls all His followers to pour forth in His name. (And so we can be assured their compassion has been “measured back” to them by the Lord.)
Jesus on the cross dies for the sins of all people, and this is His central call to all our souls: to imitate Him is our blessed goal. For insofar as we die for God and others, insofar as we lay down our lives in His truth, thus far we shall find His “compassion quickly come to us” and so live in the heavenly glory which is now His place. To us all He calls this day to pardon and forgive, for in doing so we shall find the reconciliation of the Lord even with our enemies, and secure for ourselves a room in His heavenly home.
He who knew no sin was made sin for our sake. He has humbled Himself to carry the sins of the nation… Let us, brothers and sisters, die with Christ on the cross, that all sin might be taken away in His Name.
O LORD, let us not turn away
from your Word to our souls
but be compassionate as you.
YHWH, you are a compassionate God calling us to your mercy and love. Forgive us all our transgressions against you that we might know your favor. Though we have sinned and done what is evil in your sight, though we have rebelled against you and your command, refusing to listen to the Word of truth you utter in our midst, hear our cry for deliverance from the prison into which our sins have cast us. Save us in your love!
O LORD, if we do not judge we shall not be judged. If we do not condemn we shall not be condemned. If we but forgive others their transgressions against us, you will forgive our transgressions against you. And we shall return to your pasture.
Help us to give, O LORD, to give as you give, to give as your Son gives… to lay down our lives for the sake of others – to seek pardon for their sins. Jesus stands in the breach to reconcile us to you and one another; may we join Him in His mission of love.