Remembrance and Forgiveness

The MessageI’ve got remembering on my mind this week. Today is Halloween, of course, the “Hallowed Evening” prior to “All Hallow’s Day” or “All Saints Day.” This is a time when we remember the faithful departed and share their hope for “the life of the world to come.”

I think of the people who shaped me and pray you take the time to reflect on those who have shaped you, too.

It’s a week for sacred remembrance, but also to consider the things we remember because we can’t let them go. C.S. Lewis wrote of the work of forgiveness in The Weight of Glory:

. . . you must make every effort to kill every taste of resentment in your own heart—every wish to humiliate or hurt him or to pay him out. The difference between this situation and the one in such you are asking God’s forgiveness is this. In our own case we accept excuses too easily; in other people’s we do not accept them easily enough…

This is hard. It is perhaps not so hard to forgive a single great injury. But to forgive the incessant provocations of daily life—to keep on forgiving the bossy mother-in- law, the bullying husband, the nagging wife, the selfish daughter, the deceitful son—how can we do it? Only, I think, by remembering where we stand, by meaning our words when we say in our prayers each night ‘forgive our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us.’ We are offered forgiveness on no other terms. To refuse it is to refuse God’s mercy for ourselves. There is no hint of exceptions and God means what He says.

What better gift does the church have to offer this world than to embody mercy in action? Forgiveness is work, but it is essential to till the soil in your heart and prepare for good things to grow in the year ahead.

Keep the faith,

Pastor Ben