So one thing true of humans is that we make choices all the time. We make thousands of choices every single day. Most of these choices are small, some of big, but either way, every choice we make matters. Every choice we make is actually a path leading somewhere. Choices are never in isolation; every choice has a trajectory.
In Pastor Joe’s book on C. S. Lewis, he explains that this is just the way that God has set up life, and it’s so important because, as Lewis writes, “Every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before.”
So we choose what we choose because of who we are, and what we choose shapes who we are. Our choices mean we are becoming somebody. And that is both sobering and terrifying. When I was in college a mentor of mine used to tell me that we’re always one choice away from ruining our lives. And he was right. We don’t want to make wrong choices.
But here’s the thing: sometimes we do make wrong choices. Even though we don’t want to, or don’t mean to, we will, for certain, get it wrong sometimes. And that’s the reason we have this moment in our liturgy. We need to be reminded of the truth greater than our choices. The truth that is beneath and above all of our choices is that no matter which ones we make, even the wrong ones, we can never choose ourselves away from the offer of God’s mercy. It doesn’t matter how far down whatever path we find ourselves, the mercy of God is always extended to us, ready to embrace us, there for the taking. And my exhortation this morning is to receive that mercy. Receive God’s mercy.
It doesn’t matter where you are. It doesn’t matter what you have chosen. In this moment, you can choose God’s mercy that is for you. So take it.
Prayer of Confession
Father, we confess that choices are real and important, and that we have made wrong ones. With our thoughts, our words, our actions — we have found ourselves stumbling down the wrong path, sometimes sprinting down the wrong path, but in this moment we stop. We stop and we turn. We recognize that your mercy has pursued us. We recognize that however far we’ve wandered, you are the glad Father eager to welcome us back, not ignoring our sin, but forgiving our sin by the death of Jesus in our place. It’s in this hope alone that we can come to you now in silent confession.
Now, Father, we declare that you are God and there is no other, and that there is nowhere else we can go, nowhere else we want to go. We come to you, and we remember the truth of who we are: We’re not dead, but alive; we’re not lost, but found; we’re not your enemies, but we are your sons and daughters — all because Jesus lived and died for us in our place, and because he is risen from dead, because he is reigning for us now and coming for us soon. It’s in his name we pray, amen.