Sunday, March 14, 2010

Fourth Sunday of Lent

Joshua 5: 9a, 10-12 , Psalm 34, 2 Corinthians 5: 17-21, Luke 15: 1-3, 11-32
Forgiveness is the ultimate act of love.
Love requires forgiveness as its foundation
Christ comes to this earth to bring us to the Father.
He gave himself, the ultimate sacrifice.
The story of the Prodigal Son jolts us out of our complacency. Theologian Paul Tillich says that this is the heart of the Gospel. He cites another example in the story of the woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. Tillich says “Forgiveness is unconditional or it is not forgiveness at all. There is no condition whatsoever in man which could not make him worthy of forgiveness. It is not the love of the woman that brings her forgiveness…it is the forgiveness that she has received that creates her love.”

God’s love and forgiveness are gifts, no strings attached. They are not something we earn, but simply there. No wonder we have such a hard time with this. It doesn’t fit in with any other experience we have in life. The exception is that if and when we experience that forgiveness and love, our lives are changed forever. As one who has been forgiven much I know the light and joy it creates in my life. How amazing to know there is One who loves me and knows all my dreadful thoughts and misdeeds and still loves me unconditionally.

How humbling! How freeing! Free to give love unconditionally as the Father has given it to us. Free to forgive others. Though we stumble and fall we can always return. God is only one breath away. Always there, always loving. In the giving and receiving of God’s love everything is new and the old has passed away.

Alice Turner

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