From the Desktop of the Pastor – Week of the 16th Sunday after Pentecost

Hi everyone,

While I was technically back from my time away last week, I didn’t really feel “back” until today. Maybe it’s because I had Covid last week and was working from home, maybe because my holidays were so relaxing that it just took me a week to get back into the swing of things, or maybe it’s because my schedule for this upcoming week just tipped the scales from “getting busy” to “way too busy.”

It started with me looking at next week and thinking “oh hey, look at how clear this is…” and then everything just snowballed from there. But it’s ok, I’m not complaining (not really at least). The way I see it, I have a job that allows me to be productive. I have a role that gives me the chance to meet new people and be a part of the their lives. I have this different kind of opportunity to reflect God’s love onto others, even when they least expect it.

So I’m really not complaining about being busy. Instead I see it as a blessing that serves as a reminder of how God has welcomed me and all of us into God’s kingdom to live as a community and family. Seeing it this way then allows for the joy in living in relationship to be present as we continue in our individual roles as God’s people, working together for the good of all.

Here are the readings for next week:
Genesis 50:15-21
Psalm 103:8-13
Romans 14:1-12
Matthew 18:21-35

So it’s clear that these texts are about forgiveness. I mean, without even counting I can see that the word “forgive” is mentioned at least like… what… 3 times? Either case, forgiveness is a big part of God’s welcome for us, and of our role as God’s people.

But we know, forgiveness isn’t easy. It’s sometimes hard for us to forgive others. It’s sometimes hard to accept forgiveness. And it’s sometimes hard to forgive ourselves.

However, while forgiveness might seem like a chore and something for us to just “get over with,” it can (and probably should) be seen as a blessing. A blessing that reminds us of who God is and who we are because of it. God is gracious and kind, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. We are people welcomed in that love and recipients of God’s grace, whether we expect it or even deserve it. God gives it to us.

And so we are given the strength and tools to forgive, not because we have to, but because it is who we are in light of God’s character and compassion. We are given the power and ability to forgive, not because it is a chore and a burden, but because it is a gift of relationship and community. We are given the desire to forgive, not because we need to in order to be forgiven, but because we can because we are forgiven first.

Thanks be to God! Have a great week, everyone!

Photo by Daria Nepriakhina 🇺🇦 on Unsplash

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