Amazing grace, how sweet the sound

That saved a wretch like me.

(Opening of hymn Amazing Grace)

         Last Sunday we celebrated Easter and greeted each other, “The Lord is risen!” “The Lord is risen indeed.”  That was Easter morning, an emotional high.  This Sunday we will find the followers of Jesus huddled behind locked doors in fear.  That was Easter evening, an emotional low.  We don’t brag about the days when we just feel wretched.  Morning sickness in pregnancy when we “wretch” or barf might be acceptable chat but on the overall we don’t talk a lot about the times when we are overwhelmed by life and our own inabilities to do life right.  We cry in our closets.  John Newton opens his beloved hymn with the confession that it was during one of those wretched times that God appeared with grace.  We sing the song at funerals and other times when we feel wretched.

         King David in the Old Testament wrote one of his very famous psalms, Psalm 51, at a time when he felt wretched.

“Have mercy on me, O God,
 according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
 blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
    and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you alone, have I sinned,
    and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are justified in your sentence
    and blameless when you pass judgement.
Indeed, I was born guilty,
    a sinner when my mother conceived me.”

Psalm 51:1-5

         David, at a low moment in his life, slept with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite, one of his faithful soldiers.  She became pregnant.  David tried to cover up his indiscretion and actually had Uriah killed.  His prophet, a faithful friend who spoke truth to power, confronts David, the King. 2 Samuel 11.  David is wretched with guilt and the realization of his bad choices and his inability to live into his better self without God’s help.  He cries out in his wretchedness. David must live with the consequences of his actions but God forgives him.  Amazing grace.  Our sinfulness, our inabilities need not separate us forever from God.

         Perhaps today you are feeling wretch or hopefully you know the peace of bringing that wretchedness to God.  Either way, let us thank God that when we are wretched, we can turn to him.  Easter means the Lord is risen and wants relationship with us.

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