Saturday, October 7, 2017

The little sinner

A little boy stands wide-eyed before his father.  His dress pants are wrinkled, and he is wearing no shirt.  Morning rebellion, pride, anger, and unrepentence sent him to an early nap.  Now, he must stand before his Father; he must give account for the actions that sent him to an early nap.

Father is stern, and he lists the complaints against the boy.
“Son, I’ve been told these things. Are they true?”
One by one, Father speaks accusations, and the little boy nods.  He bites back tears, and he nods, nods.

It’s true, it’s true, it’s all true.  

Mother watches, cringes, prays. She aches with the truth of it, she aches with the declaration of consequences, given for his good. (TV and technology banned. Mother does share the burden.)

Finally, Father takes those tiny boy hands, stained, naughty hands, and he guides them, folds them between his.  It’s time to pray.  “Son, you must pray.”

His tiny voice shakes as he prays, “Dear Jesus, please help me to be good.”

The trembling voice, the words, they pierce the heart of the boy’s mother. She wants to hold him, but instead she holds his prayer; the desires of her heart wrap around his. Dear Jesus, please help us to be good.  

Sniffles and silence.

Then, the tiny prayer is built upon, added to- and oh, the importance of this addition!-- that which cannot be known by nature or by effort; more than a desire for improvement, for virtue; Father adds grace. He adds Jesus.

The goodness that is lacking has been covered.  

Jesus; Forgiveness; God with us; Christ for us; these Words are poured out on the little boy with the red eyes and wrinkled pants.  

When the prayer is over, the boy is free.  

Reconciled to God, he turns to his mother, and her hug is a joyful extension of grace-filled Word.  
The little sinner, he is loved.

For further reading
Law and Gospel in the Home

originally published on 9/6/13


  1. So good, Emily. Thanks

  2. It is so hard to watch Father discipline, isn't it? We ache for our little ones. We wait to hold them and comfort them and love them in their new found forgiveness.

    I've been thinking more and more along the lines of what my husband teaches. That the church is our Mother. Your story fits in so well. We stand before our Father in heaven, dirty and sinful. We pray to be good; He lavishes forgiveness on us. We turn to our Mother, the church, for reassurance of that forgiveness and grace in the Lord's Supper, the preaching of His Word, confession and absolution. We are loved and kept safe by our Mother.

    Beautiful writing, once again.

    1. Oh wow, Jenny, that's a train of thought that I could chase all day! I love it!

    2. It is really very full of good things, isn't it? Enjoy your pursuit!


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