As I turned on to Waldo Street from Academy on my way to the Ash Wednesday service, an SUV came up Waldo the wrong way. We were at an impasse, neither of us being able to move forward. The other driver – finally! – turned into the Ashworth parking area, parked the vehicle, and got out.
I debated saying anything and decided to. “This is a one way street,” I suggested. “I know,” he retorted, “but traffic is so bad that I cut up this way.” “Yes,” I said, “but we have a lot of children around here and I would ask you to reconsider.” (I was still trying to be pastoral and the fact I am a pastor was obvious in that I was wearing a clerical collar).
I won’t repeat his response; it’s not for publication.
So, I’ve thought about this exchange and I’ve decided that my new acquaintance is a parable for me.
How many times have I been going the wrong way? How many times have I been going the wrong way deliberately because it’s convenient for me? How many times have I been going the wrong way deliberately because it’s convenient for me with no regard for what it may do to others? And how many times have I been going the wrong way deliberately because it’s convenient for me with no regard for what it may do to others and then became angry with the person who pointed out my mistake to me?
In other words, how often have I been wrong and needed to be forgiven, only to reject the possibility for forgiveness but not acknowledging that I’ve been wrong?
This Sunday, we will begin a Lenten sermon series on “Forgiveness.” We’ll begin where any Christian discussion of forgiveness must begin – with God’s forgiveness as seen in Jesus Christ. We will hear the words “I forgive you” spoken from the cross (Luke 23:32-37). We will hear the psalmist acknowledge with gratitude that forgiveness is the nature of God (Psalm 32). And we’ll think about what that means for us as we drive the wrong way down one-way streets.
See you Sunday. Be careful driving here.
Grace and peace.