Depth of Mercy – Hymn #355
This coming Sunday’s Scripture reading (May 19) focuses not on Peter’s potential, but on his flaws. We read that, before his crucifixion, Jesus predicts that Peter will forsake and deny him.
Only two people knew Peter’s sin and the flawed desires of his heart – himself and Jesus. We, too, know our own shortcomings (our sins) better than anyone else. If we’re honest with ourselves, we know that we sin (a word meaning “miss the mark”) all the time, every day. That’s why people we view as heroes of the faith acknowledge their sin so adamantly. St. Paul, the apostle who wrote much of the New Testament, refers to himself as the chief of sinners. Charles Wesley, writer of over 5,000 hymns, uses the same language to describe himself in Stanza 1 of this Sunday’s prayer hymn. They, too, knew the weight of their shortcomings.
Our hymn, Depth of Mercy, reminds us that we are guilty of the sins of Peter. We have withstood the grace of God, mocked him when we have downplayed our faith or his truths, resisted his calls to a holy life, and grieved him with our continuous sins (Stanza 2). We were partakers in his crucifixion, denying him just as Peter denied him and putting Jesus to shame (Stanza 3).
As our message will remind us, however, our God is a God of second chances. Jesus died and rose for our forgiveness. He “loves us still” (Stanza 4) – in spite of our sins. As a result of this, we should “repent” – another church word meaning “to turn” – from our sin and live a new life in Christ. What an amazing second chance we have in Jesus to rest in the depths of his mercy!
I’d like to include the final two Stanzas of this hymn here since we won’t be singing Stanza 5 this Sunday. Please use them as a prayer this week and a reminder to continually turn to the love of Jesus:
There for me my Savior stands,
Shows his wounds and spreads his hands.
God is love! I know, I feel;
Jesus weeps and loves me still.
Now incline me to repent,
Let me now my sins lament,
Now my foul revolt deplore,
Weep, believe, and sin no more. Amen.
Each week Dr. Katie Moss, Messiah’s Organist and Director of Handbells, provides us with a short devotion and closer look at a hymn we’ll sing at the Traditions Worship at 8:45 am.
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