I was told by a dear old man of a conversation he had with his parish priest. He asked the reverend if it would be possible to have a Communion Service as part of he and his wife's fiftieth wedding anniversary celebrations. In particular he had asked for the service to be from the Book of Common Prayer. The reverend suggested the Book of Alternative Services, because why would he want to say, "we are unworthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under thy table," as part of this celebration. The old gentleman replied, "Yes but reverend you must read on..'but Thou art the same Lord, whose property is always to have mercy.'"
This Sunday we shall be reading the parable of the Pharisee and the tax-collector where the tax collector says, "Lord have mercy upon me a sinner." And Jesus declares him more righteous. It is a spiritual tragedy, in my opinion, that modern spiritual efforts are directed towards enhancing self-esteem so that we feel, even believe, that somehow we are worthy in and of ourselves to receive God's love and mercy. This, quite simply is not the Gospel. We are not worthy, BUT God IS the same Lord, whose property is always to have mercy, is merciful and loving. Knowing this releases the heart, soul, and body to rejoice in unbounded thanksgiving, and is the foundation of our hope and joy. Jesus has died for the ungodly. Hallelujah.
LORD have mercy, Brian