Moses had a way with words, an episode in Exodus reminds us. It seems he had left the people he had led out of Egypt alone for a time, and they acted perversely and cast a Golden Calf as their god, and worshiped it. God was extremely irritated with them and wanted to destroy them but Moses implored the Lord his God, reminded Him of His own promises, saying, “I will multiply your descendants like the stars of heaven ...” And the Lord changed His mind.
With this example placed before us we can implore God to have mercy, and in loving kindness and compassion blot out our offenses. God is always willing to hear of our change of heart and our willingness to change. “Create in me a clean heart, O God,” we can ask, and God will renew a right spirit within us.
Even St. Paul tells of the grace and mercy he received. He was a blasphemer and violent persecutor in his unbelief. Then the grace of our Lord overflowed in him and changed him, The mercy of God and Christ made him new, and freed him of his past sin, to lead us to believe we could be blessed, too, in a new profession of faith away from sin.
These things taught by the stories of the Old Testament and the New, and offered by the church through the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus, give us assurance of the truth of God. He is loving, and always willing to forgive when we put before Him our desire to change and accept His law and His love.
Jesus, as told in Luke’s Gospel, gives us an example of how much God wants us to change and become a part of the spectrum of love God offers. He talks of shepherds and sheep, and how if just one sheep goes missing the good shepherd leaves the 99 to go find the one astray. When he does find that one, he rejoices, and asks, “Rejoice with me for I have found the sheep that was lost.”
To live with sin is ever painful, but with change of heart and mind sin can be dismissed, and God can create a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within. God’s mercy is simple and sure and available to all. Amen
The Rev. George O. Martin is an Ordained Deacon at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 17th and Adams, Great Bend. Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.