If you are this day living in debt; the debt that comes from
promises not kept, the debt that grows with a purpose not found,
the debt that causes you to make up in good works what you are
sure you have lost in bad checks...If you are living with a debt
whose payment appears to be up to you or whose forgiveness
seems to hang on your own worthiness...If your debt has been
accumulating for years with no end in sight...or if it was just this
morning that you found yourself in over your head...I tell you that
that debt is cancelled, that ransom paid, that burden taken over,
that victory won. You, who are in need of a great forgiveness,
have been surrounded by such grace as you could never know,
except as you are known by this One who died for you.


The debt in which we are all destined to live in Christ, now and
forever, is a debt of gratitude, a debt that might someday find us
selling all we have and giving it to the poor because we can’t help
ourselves, a debt that surely must call us to acts of compassion
and sacrifices of love which are not ours to choose but Christ’s
grace to work in us, a debt that now sends us forth with a purpose
far greater than any we could devise, a joy far deeper than any we
could fathom.


My friends, it is to grace that we are debtors, and daily so
constrained to be. May that grace, now like a fetter, bind our
wandering hearts to this One who deals with us not according to
our sins, nor requites us according to our iniquities. For as the
heavens are high above the earth, so great is God’s steadfast
love even toward the likes of you and me. Thanks be to God.


--Cynthia Jarvis, from a sermon, “Living in debt,” Chestnut Hill
Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, May 28, 2000.