Trusting the Rope Between

Rev. David R. Lyle

But it is for you, O Lord, that I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer. For I pray, “Only do not let them rejoice over me, those who boast against me when my foot slips.” For I am ready to fall, and my pain is ever with me.  I confess my iniquity; I am sorry for my sin. …

Do not forsake me, O Lord; O my God, do not be far from me; make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation.  (Psalm 38:13-18, 21-22)

I entered the last semester of college with an unfulfilled physical education requirement. Not being interested in bettering myself at badminton, I signed up for rock climbing. Twice each week we would go to the climbing gym to practice on indoor walls. It was enjoyable, but it only sort of prepared us for the real thing. On a sunny Saturday morning in May, we found ourselves on the Appalachian Trail, staring up a sixty-foot wall of real rock. Harnessed and roped in, we took turns attempting the various routes up the face. More times than I care to remember, my foot slipped. I fell. But I never fell far, thanks to the diligence of my climbing partner. It was good to have someone on the other end of the rope.

Our sin leads us to hide from one another. With the Psalmist, we fear that a slip of the foot will lead others to rejoice in our misfortune. So, we carry our sin within, falling ever further. The act of confession is the intentional partnering with another in the act of discipleship. The foot slips are inevitable; confession is trusting the rope between us, the vine of grace that is our risen Lord. On our own we will fall. Trusting a fellow disciple with our sins, we find ourselves lifted up by the grace of Jesus.

Prayer: Gracious God, uphold us by your Spirit. Turn us to one another, that we may support each other in the life of forgiveness. Amen.

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