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Focusing on Forgiveness

An Invitation: to focus on forgiveness in the month of September.

It feels like fall in the air. As we head into a new season, I will be doing a four week preaching series on Forgiveness starting this Labor Day weekend September 5-6, 2020. I want to extend to you an invitation to join me all month long in a holy curiosity regarding forgiveness. And then also invite you into practices. Several years ago we had a summer book study on The Book of Forgiving by Desmond Tutu and Mpho Tutu. In the introduction they write;

In our own ways, we are all broken. Out of that brokenness, we hurt others. Forgiveness is the journey we take toward healing the broken parts. It is how we become whole again.” (p.3)

When I heard the expression, “when we do not transform our pain, we transmit it.” I heard a call to keep working through my own hurt and seek healing. This would be one way to be part of the flow of forgiveness. Letting in a love and forgiveness of God so that from that wellspring forgiveness can flow out from me. We live in a very tumultuous time. There is much hurt. There is a tremendous need for healing. As Jesus’ followers we are called to “forgive as we have been forgiven”. So let’s do this together, encouraging and supporting one another.

When we let in the amazing grace of God that forgives our sins and sets us free we then live a people free to love and forgive We have forgiveness, love and reconciliation to share with the world. Freely we receive and freely we can share. You are invited to be part of this flow of forgiveness.

We are heading into a time in our country of an election of a president. As the divides seem to run even deeper the need for drawing upon God’s grace and forgiveness is heightened for me. This weekend we will hear Romans 13:8-14 the call to love one another. In quiet moments this week these verses from 1 John 4 have come to me as I need to let go of the fear, resentment, bitterness…all that which bind me and get in the way of my forgiving;

19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. 21 The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also. I John 4

So here is an invitation to heightened awareness: the sacrament of Holy Communion - taste and see, let in the love, hear the words shared in this meal.

At times when we do something regularly and repeatedly we may be on “autopilot” and just go through the motions. When Holy Communion used to only be offered once a month or even as infrequently as once every three or four months the rationale at times was that it had more impact and greater meaning. Our practices have changed in our faith community we offer Holy Communion at all three of our weekend worship services as well as on Wednesday evenings.

This month I want to invite your awareness and attention to the words of Jesus we hear repeated in the celebration of Holy Communion, “this cup is the new covenant of my blood shed for you and for all people for the forgiveness of sins.’. For you. For the forgiveness of sins… take in the gift of forgiveness into your very bodies. This month- take notice- and take it in- forgiveness for you. Into your very body.

As follower’s of Jesus this invitation to focus on forgiveness all month long, is an invitation to a fresh start. Weather is changing, leaves are turning new colors, some are already falling, the days are shorter and nights longer… there are many transitions in this season. As you notice how God’s creation is changing around you, my prayer is your openness to God’s power of forgiveness changing within you- those broken places in need of healing. May the power and presence of God work in and walk with you this week.

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