A divorced woman found herself struggling with an increasingly rebellious teenage daughter. It all came to a head late one night when the police called her to pick up her daughter who had been arrested for drunk driving. The two of them didn’t speak on the way home or next day either, until at last the mother broke the tension by giving her daughter a small, gift-wrapped package. The girl opened it with an air of indifference and found inside a small rock. “Well, that’s cute, Mom. What is it?” “Read the card, dear,” the mother replied. As the girl did so, tears began to trickle down her cheeks, and she gave her mom a hug as the card fell to the floor. On the card her mother had written: “This rock is more than 200 million years old. That’s how long it’ll take before I give up on you.” - That’s what Jesus is telling us about God’s love, His mercy, His forgiveness, through the readings of today. He never gives up on us.
Every Sunday we listen to the Word of God. The purpose of the Word of God is to help us to know God better. It is not so much to tell us what God is, something which no human mind can ever grasp, but to discover God’s love for us. Reading, reflecting and prayerful meditation of the Word of God will lead us encounter him and experience him better. Yes, one of the proofs of God’s love is His readiness to forgive our sin. Time and again, throughout the year of worship, the church keeps on stressing the message of God’s mercy.
Yes, we all stand in need of God’s mercy at all times. The letter to the Hebrews 12:1 says ‘sin cling to man’. Yes, there is not a single day in which we do not fail God in one way or another. And God forgives every time we turn to him and implore his mercy. Even our whole life-time won’t suffice to understand how great God’s mercy [is].
"Amazing Grace" is always listed among the favorite hymns. It is an old one. It goes back to the 18th century. It was written by John Newton, who was on the sea from the time he was a little boy. When he was a young man, he became the captain of his own ship, a ship that brought African slaves to the colonies to work the plantations. Back in England, between voyages, he went to hear George Whitefield preach and was converted. He realized the evil of his occupation, left it, and became a priest in the Church of England and served the rest of his life as the rector of a little church in a town called Olney. He wrote a number of hymns which were printed in a collection called the "Olney Hymns," (a classic collection of hymns in the Church), and "Amazing Grace" was one of them. Even people who are not members of churches, and those who do not profess Faith, find something about this hymn touching them. It is over two hundred years old. It is uncompromisingly Christian in its language. It is evangelical in its message, reflecting John Newton's experience of being found. "I once was lost, but now am found. Amazing grace (mercy of God) that saved a wretch like me.” 1 Timothy 1:15 “The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” Yes, Christ came into the world to invite everyone to avail himself/herself of God’s mercy. There is nothing that should make us doubt of God’s readiness to forgive, nothing should refrain us from approaching him asking for pardon. The sinner who truly experience the joy of being forgiven, readily forgives the offences of those who offend him/her. Wherever forgiving others’ offences, we resemble our Father in heaven, whose children we are. Let us be his true children and be channels of God’s forgiving love and heal the world.