June 30, 2017

Experiencing Forgiveness

June 29, 2017

Daily Reading

Micah 7:18-20

Psalm 13

This week’s sermon text: Genesis 2:1-3

Field Notes
We know God first through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, and we also know God as revealed in the Hebrew Scriptures. God sees and responds to our distress, and as with Hagar, God’s mercy reaches the outcast and “foreigners.” The “God who comes” to Hagar is Emanuel, the same “God who comes” in Jesus Christ.

The prophet Micah reveals another astonishing aspect of God in contrast to the gods of other ancient religions (and false objects of worship we erect in our own time). God forgives! Not only forgives but takes our sins and throws them into the deepest sea. God forgives and God forgets. We think of God as “all-knowing,” so why does God blot out His knowledge of our transgressions? God does it willfully and takes delight in wiping out the memory of our sins.

Praying the Lord’s Prayer carries the expectation that we will follow the words of the prayer in our life with Jesus. We ask for forgiveness and respond with forgiveness for others. But, following God’s example, we need to learn to forget also. This is the most difficult part. No matter how old we are, we sometimes recall the taunts the mean kid in third grade hurled at us at recess. How much harder it is to forget slights and insults suffered as adults.

The way forward is complicated – and we learned from Nelson Mandela, whose insights brought together a nation broken by apartheid: injustice must be accounted for truthfully before reconciliation can take place. But we begin by confessing our own transgressions and receiving forgiveness. Experiencing God’s unbounded grace opens the way for us to extend that grace to others.

Questions for the Field

  • What does God’s new covenant written on our hearts say to us about putting things behind us (Jeremiah 31:31-34)?
  • Reflect on the need to forget and, at the same time, the importance of memory. What prayer of Jesus from the cross leads us to see the depth of God’s willingness to forgive?

Family Field Talk

  • Say the Lord’s Prayer together and talk about how our lives reflect this prayer.
  • Can we be givers of bread in God’s name?
  • Do we know how to forgive? What hurts are the hardest to forgive and forget?
  • What does it mean for God’s will to be done on earth?

Prayer Guide
God our Maker, you remold the clay and create us anew. Help us to live in the generous grace of your forgiveness. Teach us to see others as your forgiven people. Fill us with newness and light. Through Jesus our Lord. Amen.