Dear Members and Friends,
Our “Forty Days of Forgiveness” series begins this Sunday as we mark our journey together through the holy season of Lent. Lent is a season of reconciliation – with God, with others, and even with our selves. Each of us lives with various degrees of estrangement in our lives, some of which is of our own making, and some of which has come through no fault of our own. We drift apart from God and the people in our lives. We often betray our own personal integrity and find that we are “beside ourselves.” Estrangement and separation is our common human condition.
This week, we’ll come to see that one of the greatest impediments to forgiving others is our lack of assurance that God has forgiven us. God loves us without conditions. We can neither earn nor merit God’s love; it is a pure and irrevocable gift, waiting to be received by faith and trust. We can disappoint and distance ourselves from God, but we can never fall below or outside the inexhaustible web of divine love that holds the entire world together.
We are human beings, fallen by nature. Sin is a deeply rooted disorientation in which we see the world and others only in relation to us, rather than in relation to God. Our egos become the center of the universe. The inflated ego is guided by illusions of grandiosity; the deflated ego is guided by illusions of shame worthlessness. The former tends to hurt others; the latter tends to destroy the self. Each is an expression of human estrangement and the need for God’s forgiveness.
This week, we’ll remember that there is nothing we have done or can do that can separate us from the love of God. This assurance gives us the freedom and courage to be honest before God about the ways we have hurt others and ourselves.
Invite a friend or family member to join you for worship during these next five weeks as we live out these “Forty Days of Forgiveness.”
See you Sunday,