Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The Text for the Week

Matthew 18:21-35
Then Peter came and said to him, "Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?" Jesus said to him, "Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.

"For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves.When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made.
So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, 'Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.' And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, 'Pay what you owe.' Then his fellow slave fell down and pleaded with him, 'Have patience with me, and I will pay you.'But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he would pay the debt. When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. Then his lord summoned him and said to him, 'You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?' And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart."

  • The part of the Lord's prayer that we say "forgive our trespasses are we forgive our trespassers" I used to say a a kids "forgive our debts as we forgive our debtors." This is the portion of the Gospel that makes me wonder if we should say "debt" rather than trespass.
  • We are a nation of debtors. We have more than $20,000 of debt per person. I remember when the LH was unemployed and we called all our creditors. I remember how many did indeed show mercy on us -- allowing smaller payments or no payment at all until we got back on our feet.
  • And I remember that were some who did not show mercy.
  • I also remember a time where I had to ask someone to pay back a large personal debt and it caused tremendous conflict. I was administering an estate and the lawyer of the estate demanded that I collect this debt. I knew the person didn't necessarily have the money -- but I had to demand it anyway. It broke the relationship. It was not a pretty thing.
  • Money has been a source of conflict since the very idea of "money" came into being. It's a major reason that marriages break up; some claim that "money" or commerce is also one of the major causes of war.
  • But it's not money in and of it self -- it is the love of money and the value we put on money. It's conflict around how we USE money.
  • More later.
First, I am going to go visiting. I love to visit people; I love to listen to their stories. I have about 6 or 7 stops planned while I'm there -- but I think I'll not stay as long as I have in the last few weeks. Entropy has whatever it was the the LH and I had -- Chaos had it last week. I think I'll visit a while and then come on home. I also have Charge Conference on Thursday night... lots more blank places to fill out in the paperwork. I don't think the reports will be as complete as some of the other, larger churches I've served have been BUT I will have them a little more complete than last year's report. Just getting it a little further down the road.

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