The world belongs to God
The earth and all its people
How good and lovely it is
To live together in unity
Love and faith come together
Justice and peace join hands
Let us in silence remember our faults and failings
Christ have mercy on us, and deliver us from our sins and may we amend our lives
Song “Morning has broken”
The Lords Prayer in our own language
Song “Hallelujah Sings”
21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. 23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, cancelled the debt and let him go.28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’ 30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I cancelled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. 35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
Song “He will hold me fast”
Forgiveness depends on the belief that we all fail! It is the supreme mark of a Christian that we believe in forgiveness. Unfortunately our society does not believe in forgiveness.
As Christians in theory we can’t refuse to forgive someone if they are sorry because they have failed! The Forgiveness Project shows in a remarkable way how forgiveness changes lives. http://theforgivenessproject.com/
To forgive means to let go, to release. Peter asks if you must forgive someone up to seven times. This is because in Rabbinic law the upper limit was 3 times, so Peter goes better than the Scribes and the Pharisees. Seven can also mean a great number.
But Jesus is teaching that there is no upper limit, not even seventy-seven times or 490! If we don't or can't forgive then we are seriously out of sorts with God.
A king settles his accounts with his servants. In the story, the unforgiving servant, the servant begs the king to treat the debt as a loan to be repaid. The king took pity on him and cancelled the debt. He forgave him.
The size of the debt owed by the servant is massive. In today's terms it is millions of pounds. Under Old Testament law the servant as a debtor could be sold into slavery, but must be released in the year of Jubilee, every 50th year. The master chooses to wipe the debt out.
But the servant does not carry on the good practice! He seizes a man, who owes him money, by the throat so that he began to choke, and demanded he pay back what he owed. The man asks for patience and was refused. He was in deep distress.
The servant's actions were the opposite of the master's. The debt owed him was about the accumulated wage of a labourer for 100 days of work. It was far less than his own debt to the king, but he had him thrown into prison. The king found out and called him a wicked servant and had him thrown into prison.
The way the king treated the servant is an illustration of the way God will treat us and the way we must treat others.
Kosuke Koyama wrote;
"In desolate Tokyo, all things that had cluttered our lives vanished. Baptized by the all-cleansing fire-bomb, our lives were radically simplified and denuded. Silence came over us. We whispered. We sat on the ground. Our hands were empty. Our eyes gazed towards heaven. Even the summer sun failed to warm us. We were brought down to our knees by the victors. "To put one's mouth to the dust, there may yet be hope" (Lam. 3:29). Unexpectedly, the unconditional surrender was a moment of national purification. It was a special gift of God. I was there to experience the blessed denudedness. At that moment no one said that "the Japanese people are the best people in the whole world".
For the first three days after her unconditional surrender, Japanese people felt repentant for what Japan had done to its neighbours and to heaven. In a state of shock, the nation repented. In repentance, time stopped flowing.
It was during the war, when I was 12 years old, that I confessed the Christian faith and was baptized in a small church in Tokyo. This was seen by my people as an act of betrayal to my country, since Christianity was the religion of Japan's primary enemy, the United States. The old Japanese minister who baptized me told me then that the God of Christianity is concerned about the welfare of American people, Japanese people and all peoples. I realized then, even though only vaguely, that what Christian baptism signifies can transcend even the divisions of humanity brought about by war. Being baptized I affirmed, in the midst of the context of international war and violence, the universality of the gospel message - the message of forgiveness…Hiroshima has done a rough job of levelling all to the same plane. None higher. None lower…Standing on the same plane, we now say together, "And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors" (Matt. 6:12).
When a person, or a community, or even a nation says, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you" (Luke 15:18), a new possibility appears on the horizon of human history…Genuine forgiveness cannot be established on a lie. Only truth can be the foundation of forgiveness. Truth holds the forgiver and the forgiven responsible to each other.” Amen
Song “There is a hope”
We pray for people and situations we are concerned about including people having to go back into lockdown, to work, school and those still in lockdown, the desperate people crossing the sea in dinghies, continuing deaths from Covid 19, the ongoing unrest in Belarus, Hong Kong and Syria and other places, the rise of fascism, the government, the Rohinga Muslims, Muslims being persecuted in China, protection for key workers and adequate PPE, protection for Black and Asian people, for people on low or no incomes, for those with underlying health conditions and those over 60, care for those who are alone and those suffering with depression, protection for asylum seekers and refugees and ensuring that food is reaching the vulnerable and global warming.
May we not fail you. Amen
Song “Be thou my vision”
The blessing of God be upon you
On those you love and those you meet
This day and forevermore. Amen
With thanks to the ©Iona Community adapted
Song “All my hope”
Song “Let your kingdom come”
Song “My dwelling place”
Song “Daughters of Zion”
Song “Who you say I am”
Song “Just be held”
Song “No longer slaves”
21彼得來到耶穌那裡，問：“主啊，我要寬恕我的犯了我罪的兄弟姊妹多少次？最多七次？” 22耶穌回答說：我告訴你，不是七次，而是七十七次。 23“因此，天國就像一個國王，想與他的僕人結清賬。 24當他開始定居時，一個欠他一萬袋金子的人被帶到他那裡。 25由於他無力償還債務，船長命令他，他的妻子和他的孩子以及所有他被賣掉的東西償還債務。26他懇求道，“請耐心等待，我將償還一切。” 27僕人的主人憐憫他，免除了債務，讓他離開。28“但是那個僕人出去後，他找到了他的一個。欠他一百枚銀幣的僕人。[c]他抓住他，開始began死他。他要求說：“還清欠我的錢！” 29“他的僕人跪下來乞求他，‘請耐心，我會還的。’30“但他拒絕了。取而代之的是，他下車將男子送入監獄，直到他還清債務。 31當其他僕人看到發生了什麼事時，他們感到憤怒，走了，將發生的一切告訴了主人。32“然後，主人叫僕人進來。'你這邪惡的僕人，'他說，'我取消了所有債務。你的，因為你求我。 33你不應該像我對你的僕人一樣憐憫你的僕人嗎？’34憤怒時，他的主人將他交給了要折磨的獄卒，直到他還清所有欠款為止。 35“除非你從心底寬恕你的兄弟姐妹，否則我的天父將以這種方式對待你們每個人。”