where we have been and where we are:
Acknowledging and Confessing Our Sin
before God and One Another
(We hear it is good for the soul!)…
Forgiving Others As…
This Sunday we continue the journey with Jesus to the cross and therefore we continue the journey deeper into God’s work of forgiveness. In preparation, it was impressed upon me that the work of forgiveness involves humble submission and surrender…it means placing ourselves in God’s hands in order to receive God’s forgiveness and to be able to offer forgiveness to others. The work of forgiveness is highly relational.
Initially, I had to rethink and confront (again!) my own culpability and need for remedy with God and others. This rethinking was further strengthened as I considered the Gospel scripture from Matthew. The Lord is teaching his disciples to pray, and teaches them to begin by praying to God the Father. Jesus says, “Pray then in this way: ‘Our Father in heaven….’”
We may ask, “Who are we/who am I” to approach God in prayer at all—much less to be bold in our petitions to God! We may feel lost or helpless given that we are in such great need of God’s mercy. We cannot do anything to earn or deserve God’s favor, in fact our very life and salvation comes from God. Yet it is Jesus himself who teaches his disciples to pray and to pray in this particular way.
Perhaps the fierce storms that rolled through the area on Wednesday influenced my mood and perspective. Traffic was snarled, people suffered great damage to property, some were displaced from their homes, and still others lost their very life. The storms of life (literally and figuratively) do tend to sober us up, don’t they? They remind us of our own vulnerability and culpability in the collective brokenness, especially when the storms seem to have no end or we experience the same storms over and over. It is a good thing that God has a plan.
To state the obvious, it does not take the inevitable disappointments and storms of life to highlight our own vulnerability, for all of us are in debt to God. We owe God our very life. This is actually a very good position to be in, of course. We are the handiwork of God’s creation and God does not abandon us in our need! In Christ, God’s giving and forgiving nature turns to us and makes things right on our behalf.
This Sunday, we will delve deeper into what it means to forgive others as God forgives us. Hmmm…there seems to be a connection, a direct relationship being established with that tiny little word “as.” Could it be a relational word that connects one thing to another, connects one person to another, and to another, and to another, all beginning with Our Father…. It seems that this little word “as” carries great weight and importance and is a key to some new possibilities!
It is the fifth petition of The Lord’s Prayer that will catch most of our attention this week: “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors….”
As we pray for one another, please remember to be in prayer for the Youth and Adult Servants enjoying the wonderful blessings of Discovery Weekend.
Being bound to God in Christ is a solid position to be in. See you this Sunday.