(Continuing to present both Tracks of the Lectionary)
Forgive—pretty simple, right? Yet “forgive” is multifaceted. Forgive who? We easily see “forgive those who do us wrong”. Does that mean intentional or only unintended offense? Forgive and forget? This one usually gets sticky when the offense is repeated. If you take my stuff without asking, I can forgive that. But what if it has become your habit? Do I still forgive? What about self? Many can forgive offenses of others but what about our own faults and missteps? How long do we hold ourselves accountable for an error in judgment in years past? So, obviously, forgive is not so simple. And then our dear Lord Jesus says to forgive 77 times [in this rare instance, the editor prefers the King James Version of seventy times seven because you have to think about what that is.] One commentator notes that “70” is perfection so “70 x 7” means completely. How will you forgive completely? repeatedly? yourself and others? Post your thoughts on our website.
Peter came and said to Jesus, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times. . . . And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
From sermon4kids.com: “Wow! Seventy times seven! That’s four hundred and ninety times. I think that before I got to four hundred and ninety I would lose count. You know, I think that is probably what Jesus was trying to get Peter to understand and he wants us to understand it too. We shouldn’t worry about keeping count of how many times we have forgiven someone—we should just keep on forgiving. Isn’t that what God does? He doesn’t keep count of how many times he has forgiven us. He just keeps on forgiving.”
Scripture: September 13, 2020—Genesis 50:15-21 (image); Psalm 103:(1-7), 8-13 (image); Romans 14:1-12 (image); and Matthew 18:21-35 (image). Illuminating the scripture, an image and audio journey. Track 1 lesson and psalm are Exodus 14:19-31 (image) and Psalm 114 (image). From the editor: Click on “image” following each appointed scripture for an illumination of that passage.
Collect: O God, because without you we are not able to please you, mercifully grant that your Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Reflection: Why is my forgiveness of others so connected to God’s forgiveness? Is every sin forgivable? [from Feasting on the Word Worship Companion]
Saint Focus: Alexander Crummell was born in the early 19th century and became politically active just before and throughout the Civil War and continued until his death. Some of his efforts were on creating a Black Christian nation in Liberia. Others were to oppose the separation of Black church from White churches in the Episcopal Church. Be sure to read his full story. The link below gives a little more detail [from several sources. Click the link to see which calendar was used].
This week, the saints under consideration were:
- 10; Alexander Crummel, 1898
- 11; Harry Thacker Burleigh, Composer, 1949
- 12; John Henry Hobart, Bishop of New York, 1830
- 13; Cyprian, Bishop and Martyr of Carthage, 258
- 14; Holy Cross Day
- 15; [Catherine of Genoa], Mystic and Nurse, 1510 AND James Chisholm, Priest, 1855
- 16; Ninian, Bishop, c. 430
Contemporary Parables: “Changing Lanes” (2002)—I have recommended before but had not seen. I have seen in part—it is excessively hard hit to the emotions; “Magnolia” (1999), those who try too hard often miss the mark; “Angela’s Ashes” (1999), soul-shattering effects of poverty
image is downloaded 9/9/2020 from “10 mistakes you need to forgive” article at the Wellness website
: Many of us are all too well acquainted with being judged at school, in sports, or even with family members. Think for a minute about that experience, what it feels like to be judged. In the Romans’ lesson, Paul reminds us that “If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.” Our worth is not defined in how others judge us, but rather in the simple fact that we belong to God. Whether you’re fond of bacon or kale, indie rock or country, baseball or lacrosse, your worth comes from your status as God’s child — not your appetite, your clothes, or the car you drive. How might you extend God’s grace to others (excerpted from “The work of forgiveness”, Stewardship of Life website)
If you wish, share your thoughts on our website.
We continue to read from the section of Matthew’s Gospel, which deals with God’s forgiveness and our role in extending His forgiveness to all people. Peter asks Jesus how many times he is to forgive someone who wrongs him. In a parable, Jesus explains that God’s forgiveness of us lays on us the obligations to forgive our brothers and sisters unconditionally.
Track 1. The first reading brings us to the most important event in the story of God and the people of Israel. God saved them from the Egyptian army at the sea. The people were led to safety and freedom. Jesus spoke of his own death and resurrection as his Exodus. We join him in that Exodus as God leads us to salvation through the waters of baptism.
Track 2. In Genesis, we have the example of Joseph, who finds it within his person to forgive his brothers, despite the atrocities they perpetrated on him as a boy. He also provides us with an example of the way in which unexpected events can work for good in God’s purpose.
In our final reading from Romans, Paul calls on Christians to refrain from judging one another. The differences between the ways various ones of us follow Christ are to be accepted. Our responsibility is to love God and each other.
We are a community marked by faith and obedience to God’s Word. Our life reflects our relationship with God and our relationships with each other. We are to be a community marked by acceptance of all and by forgiveness. Not a gathering of perfected saints—we are, rather, a gathering of sinners who have known God’s love and forgiveness and who in turn extend that love and forgiveness to all people.
From The Rite Light: Reflections on the Sunday Readings and Seasons of the Church Year. Copyright © 2007 by Michael W. Merriman. Church Publishing Incorporated, New York.