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Between Sundays for Week of March 18, 2024

Peter has a pressing question for Jesus: How often should I forgive?

It turns out that forgiveness is a necessary element for being in relationship with our fellow, fallen human beings. “Where two or three are gathered in my name,” Jesus assumes there will be conflict. And just before Peter’s question about forgiveness, Jesus has outlined a process that very clearly does not include brushing things under the rug and pretending they never happened. But what Peter really wants to know is: how often are we supposed to forgive one another? How many times can we mess up and still be part of this whole movement? As many as seven times?

Not seven, but seventy-seven, Jesus says.

Because we need a lot of forgiveness when we try to love one another as Jesus commanded. Just as Peter struggled to love Jesus in his time of trial (as we will remember as we hear again the events of Jesus’ Passion during Holy Week that begins next Sunday!), we fail to love one another as Jesus taught.

In other words, the words of the late Henri Nouwen ring true: “Forgiveness is the name of love practiced among people who love poorly. The hard truth is that all people love poorly. We need to forgive and be forgiven every day, every hour increasingly. That is the great work of love among the fellowship of the weak that is the human family.”

When Jesus declared Peter the rock on which he will build the church, he didn’t choose Peter because he was perfect. He didn’t choose him because he would never stumble or falter. Maybe he chose him to lead the way in love and forgiveness. So that the church would be built as a place where we learn about God’s love for us and practice showing that love to each other, which inevitably means falling short and learning how to forgive.

What a vision for the community of the church! Thanks be to God for loving us well and forgiving us more times than we can count. May God give us the grace to practice doing the same for one another!

P.S. Our Facebook connection is still down, but you can still view Sunday’s sermon (sermon begins around 27:00) via YouTube or watch the most recent Sunday worship service on our website. From there find links to previous worship videos available on Facebook and YouTube.

A Conversation on Leadership, Grief, Wanting to Explore and More with Pastor Amy Walter-Peterson.  Abby and Amy share their podcast feed with Cass McCrory, host of Best Next Step. In this week’s episode, Cass interviews Amy.

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Showing up for one another matters. Practicing love for one another through simple, everyday acts of noticing and listening to one another matters. The U.S. Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy, hosts a podcast called House Calls, where he interviews people who are addressing the epidemic of loneliness and explores how we might become more connected to each other. In a recent episode, he interviews Rabbi Sharon Brous about the power of showing up. Rabbi Brous provides a beautiful understanding of how showing up matters to our physical, mental, and spiritual health. Showing up is a practice of faith. Listen to that episode here!