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Once upon a time in the West…

Mercy Poster

‘Anachronistic electricity, Keep Out signs, aggressive stares; has someone been peeking at my Christmas list?’



Ignoring the ‘Keep Out’ sign at the edge of a Town called Mercy (more a suggestion than an actual order; like, Dry Clean Only) the Doctor sets off down Main Street with the Ponds; Three Amigos with a Fistful of Dollars; first stop, the saloon; inside, the Man with No Name strolls to the bar and orders, ‘Tea. But the strong stuff. Leave the bag in’.

Cyborg MercyOf course there’s a reason for the aggressive stares, etc; it’s the same reason the good citizens of Mercy hope the gun-slinging cyborg called Kahler-Tek won’t spot the difference between one alien Doctor and another. You see, Mercy already has one alien Doctor; valued as much for his help in the time of cholera as for the Dodge-y electric lighting he installed. His name is Kahler-Jex and our Doctor is impressed; ‘I love the Kahler. They’re one of the most ingenious races in the galaxy. Seriously, they could build a spaceship out of Tupperware and moss.’

Well, I’d like to see that; but first there’s trouble in Mercy; by High Noon, Gunsmoke will fill the air and by sunset only Cowboys and Aliens with True Grit will still be riding Tall in the Saddle. Sorry.

Kahler-Jex created Tek, just one of an army of cyborgs, all men of Kahler, to become the brutal means to end nine years of war. Now Tek, the last cyborg, aims to execute the scientist for his crimes.

JexWhen our Doctor learns the truth he gives Jex up to justice, much to Amy’s disgust. ‘When did killing someone become an option?’ she asks. The Doctor relents, but when Jex suggests his service to the town merits mercy, he replies, ‘I see this reformation for what it really is. You committed an atrocity and chose this as your punishment. Don’t get me wrong, good choice. Civilised hours, lots of adulation, nice weather, but justice doesn’t work like that. You don’t get to decide when and how your debt is paid.’

In the end, Jex, goes to face the souls of those he wronged, saying, ‘Perhaps they will be kind,’ before setting his ship to self-destruct with him inside and leaving us to ask, ‘What is an acceptable sacrifice for our sins and is there nothing at all we can add to repentance and faith?’

The New Testament letter to the Hebrews answers both these questions.

First, in regard to God there is only one acceptable sacrifice for our sin and that is Christ; ‘But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God … for by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.’ Hebrews 10:12-14 ESV

We have nothing we can add to the death of Christ to ‘pay our debt’ but some other sacrifices are pleasing to God, proof of the genuineness of our faith in his unmerited, forgiving grace.

‘Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise–the fruit of lips that confess his name.  And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.’ Hebrews 13:15-18


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