On the seventh day there was silence in heaven. The mighty wind of life was still. The sea was calm. The morning stars glistened. And earth slept. The work was finished. Creation had been born. And the mother of all things rested. It was a holy day. The heavens and the earth were well. God saw its fullness. And there was evening and morning, creation’s seventh day. (from Genesis 2)
O God, because without you we are not able to please you, mercifully grant that your Holy Spirit may in all things, direct and rule our hearts; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen
The reading from Exodus is about the escape of the Israelites from the Egyptian army and what led the people to strengthen their faith. When the Israelites fled Egypt they were covered by a thick cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. The turning point for Israel, was as they witnessed what the Lord did against the Egyptians that led to a stronger belief in the Lord and Moses; strengthening their faith in the Lord. Think about what events that have happened in your own life that have strengthened your faith.
This Psalm points to the power of God and praises his power. Israel was brought out of Egypt, the sea fled before God’s people, and the river Jordan was driven back. Mountains trembled at the presence of the Lord. We can only imagine how the people who were being led out of Egypt must have felt watching what was happening in order for them to no longer be slaves and seeing the power of God first hand.
Paul talks to the Christians regarding certain practices and he talks about tolerance in viewing then. Paul stressed the importance of motivation rather than the specific practices because whatever is done should be “in honor of the Lord;” we are not to pass judgement on one another . There should be a mutual tolerance that honor each person’s conscientious decision as a personal response and obedience to God.
We live and die not to ourselves, but to the Lord. For this Christ died and rose again. Every person takes responsibility for his or her own deeds at the day of judgement.
Matthew 18: 21-35
Jesus calls us to practice unlimited forgiveness in all of our personal relationships. Peter thought 7 times, but Jesus said no 70 x 7, the exact number is not the point, there is no limit on forgiveness. The spirit of forgiveness should so pervade our lives that we simply lose count of the number of times. We read in todays gospel that the appeal for God’s mercy can be made only by those who show mercy to others. Thus, we are always to look to our own repentance before God. We are called to forgive our brothers and sisters from our heart. No one can earn forgiveness from God; forgiveness is a free gift that extends to every person. We are to repent and, in mercy and compassions extend such forgiveness to others.
C.S. Lewis commented: “Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea – until they have something to forgive.” The Greek verb “to forgive” is aphiemi, meaning “to let go, to set free.” Perhaps one of the hardest tests of faith is to let go of injury and free the injurer.” Even if it is ourselves.
Prayer For the Day
O God of unrestricted love and limitless grace, by the gift of your Holy Spirit may we daily be willing to set aside unforgiveness of any sort: may we aspire to that Kingdom love that empowered our Lord Jesus Christ to forgive his executioners even as he was perishing on the Cross, and this we ask in the power of you Name. Amen
Rev. Kathyleen Funk