When I was a little girl living in the Bronx, I remember walking the streets under the raised train tracks. I can still hear the chuck-chuck-chuck rhythm in the background. I never second guessed the noises in the air. It was city life.
Hand in hand with my mom we’d walk to our destination. One hand holding mine and the other in her pea coat pocket with her booklet.
There was this Redemption Center that we would go to. We’d browse the front window and then walk inside. Based on how many stamps my mom accumulated; this determined the item we could take home.
But what if we were missing a stamp?
Redemption is “the action of regaining or gaining possession of something in exchange for payment, or clearing a debt.”
It was a lot of work to own anything on the window display in exchange for the stamps we collected. In never really amounted to anything big. The prize always seemed out of reach.
What if the item or object is unattainable? What if my booklet is deficient in pages or the stamps that I collect are not enough?
The Bible tells a story of this exact thing.
Often sin is spoken as something someone else is doing. It’s the evil we see on TV. It’s the criminal that often repeats the offenses. Even a child is taught to share otherwise they grow up selfish. But, what happens when we grow up and are now mature?
Are we now exempt? We’ve learned right from wrong. We’ve arrived. Right?
Somewhere in our walk we have forgotten that the smallest of wrongs have accumulated. They have joined together to taint our behavior, actions and even our outlook on life. We have become familiar with the “noises of the world” that they don’t even affect us anymore. At least we don’t think so.
Let’s go down memory lane again.
Magilla Gorilla, do you know who he is?
He spent a lot of time in a window hoping someone would redeem him; purchase him, love him and take him home.
The jingle went like this, “Gorilla for sale. Take our advice, at any price, a gorilla like Magilla is mighty nice. Gorilla, Magilla Gorilla for sale!”
I remember thinking, poor gorilla. No one wants him.
Sometimes we feel like that poor creature. Here I am! Someone, love me.
We want to be loved and cared for. We feel the wrongs of yesterday have taken something form us. Perhaps we are right.
Yet, there is a Redeemer that is quite familiar with all that we have done; all that we have lost.
The loss is his.
He longs to bring us home.
His walk has been long. He has paid the price for the one he yearns for, you & I.
You see, I have gone to the redemption center and brought out my booklet.
I have a stamp for obeying my mom. I did all my homework. I did not steal the gum from the corner store. Oh, I did lie to my dad about that thing he said I should not do. Can I still redeem my stamps?
The Lord is aware of how many good things we have done. He knows we desire to do what is right but sometimes fail.
Who will redeem us? Was this not the cry of poor Magilla Gorilla?
Jesus will walk the road,” With shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed. 2So Pilate decided to grant their demand. He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, the one they asked for, and surrendered Jesus to their will. (Luke 23:23-25)
“Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified. (Matthew 27:26)
Jesus is aware of all my sin. Yes, the things that I have done. And, he still loves me. He is the only one who has what it takes to redeem my life. “Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” (Hebrews 11:22b)
Who will take this little girl home?
“And I was included in Christ when I heard the message of truth, the gospel of my salvation. When I believed, I was marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing my inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:13-14)
The Redeemer said I am worth it! My debt was cleared. He said he would take me home.
Jerome Avenue in the Bronx, the Redemption Center.
The treasure was not always what was in the window. The prize is the great memory of being with my mom. Walking hand in hand. Secure &. loved.