New Hymns for the Lectionary
Proper 25C - Gospel

When the Son of Man Comes Back
TEXT: Mark Ryman (2004) based on Luke 18:9-14.
Halleluiah! What a Savior!” by Phillip Bliss (1875).

When the Son of Man comes back
Will the Church be firm or slack?
Will he find faith bright or black?
Be merciful, O my Savior!

I am confident and proud,
Standing pompous in a crowd,
Proclaiming my faith so loud.
Be merciful, O my Savior!

I stand out above the rest;
All can see my faith is best.
I should turn and beat my breast.
Be merciful, O my Savior!

God have mercy upon me,
This can be my only plea.
I’m a sinner on my knees.
Be merciful, O my Savior!

How can any person stand
Without God’s kind, helping hand?
I am humbled by the grand
Mercy of a loving Savior!

The Lesson - Luke 18:9-14

       Jesus asks a question in verse eight: “When the Son of man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” In answer to his own question he tells the story of two men praying. The first is a Pharisee, a religious leader, who is proud of his pedigree. It reminds me of an old friend who used to joke: “I’m proud to be this humble.” This is no joke to the Pharisee. One sees his seriousness — ludicrous as it is — when he compares himself to another man. That man, by comparison, is humble and begs for God’s mercy.
       It is easy to think the Pharisee is no good. In doing so, one becomes the comparison-making Pharisee. Sing the hymn again. This time put yourself in the Pharisee’s shoes — because those are the shoes we all wear... all-too-often. Indeed; will the Son of Man find faith upon his return or churches filled with self-sufficient, religious folks, proud of their Christian pedigrees?

© 2004, Mark E. Ryman

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Mark E. Ryman