There was a beautiful line in the psalms at Morning Prayer today, which has remained with me. Taken from Psalm 84(85), it read –
“Show us, Lord, Your mercy; grant us Your salvation.”
In many ways, this line sums up the entirety of our faith.
The Almighty alone is the Lord and, as the Pasalmist reminds us elsewhere, “there is no other God like Him”. Our condition, then, is that of creatures before the Creator; before Him, we are nothing at all in comparison, less than a speck of dust in a shaft of divine sunlight. And yet, He loves us – and infinitely so.
As many of the Psalms tell us, we often wander far from the Lord, placing our will before His, our desires for ourselves ahead of His desires for us. In other words, we are sinners, for that is what sin is. And so with this relaisation in mind, the Psalmist appeals to the Lord for His mercy.
This condition of sinfulness affects every single one of us in some way or another, sparing none. Our sins may be different to those of a different sinner, but we are all sinners regardless of that. And precisely because we are all sinners, we stand in need of mercy – all of us.
Now, mercy is always available to us – it is never withheld, and it triumphs over justice time after time, for the Lord loves us. But it begins with our realisation and acceptancec of our sinfulness – only then can we perceive our need of mercy, only then can we ask for mercy, and only then can we rightly hope it will be granted to us.
The final words of the Psalmist remind us of something else.
As sinners, we are in need of a Saviour, the One who dispenses that mercy and who saves us – and the Lord is the only one capable of being a Saviour to us. We cannot ever save ourselves – our salvation is through Him alone and it is His free gift to us. It was in order to save us, to offer us salvation, that He came as one of us.
May we recognise our sinfulness and our need of His salvation, and ask His mercy.