Welcome readers to St. Brendan’s on-line parish discussion on FORGIVENESS. I want to start with a note of appreciation to The Rev. Edward Dufresne for providing the inspiration for this effort with his moving and informative sermon on Sunday, Sept 3, 2016. In the discussion on Dietrich Bonhoeffer following the service one of the questions Pastor Dufresne asked was:
“Do you feel you have the power to forgive in the name of Jesus?
I think that this is a most provocative way to begin our discussion. I also think I have no better way to respond than to share with you a paraphrase of a sermon by the Rev. Franklin Clark Fry which I heard in January 1994.
THE SOURCE AND THE FLOW
We love God because God first loved us. (1John 4:19)
It is all that simple. The Father loved so ardently that He gave His son. The Son loved so lavishly that He gave strength, faith, health—eventually even his life blood that we might be forgiven and redeemed. The Father and the Son loved so persistently that together they gave their Spirit without ceasing into our hearts.
All that we as Christians are called upon to do—all that we can do—is to be an open watercourse for that divine love and forgiveness.. We do not create any part of it. It would be an arrogant illusion to think we did. We must not blockade it. If we do, we are adversaries of God not God’s children. We are simply to reflect it back to God and out to God’s world. Our calling is to give it free flow.
That means we are never generous. We never give any gifts. We never give our forgiveness. We are merely to be the channel for the good gifts, including the gift of forgiveness, which comes in a steady stream from God God expects us to take the forgiveness which God pours into our hearts and to see that it is used for the thing that is closest to God’s heart. The building of the kingdom through God’s church. It is all that simple and that imperative.
So, the question:
Do you feel you have the power to forgive sins in Jesus’ name?
Let us hear from you.
Anne L. Burton, D,Min,
Sep 6, 2016