- How could the King forgive such a huge debt? That’s crazy.
- How could someone forgiven so much, choose not to forgive at all? That’s even crazier.
Then the absurdity of the story is turned upon us as a mirror. And it asks us, “Are you not like the man? Do you forgive as you’ve been forgiven? Why not?” Maybe we’re afraid of not being protected. Maybe we’re afraid of continuing to be hurt. That’s a real threat and it makes me want to ask, “Jesus, how do you expect us to ‘relentlessly pursue peace’, when it requires us to engage with so much hurt, and sadness and anger?” And the only way that Jesus invites us to forgive is by telling us his own story week after week. The story of love for the world that he made. The story of humility to become one of us. The story of teaching, and healing, and sitting with the hurting. The story of being wrongly accused, and tortured and saying, “Father, forgive them. They couldn’t possible know what they are doing.” And this story intersects with your story right now, at this table, where, week after week, the Risen Christ invites you to live as the Forgiven, grateful enough to forgive, empowered enough to pursue peace, even amidst hurt, sadness and anger, because that’s the only place where forgiveness exists. The word of hope is that, on the other side of forgiveness, this hurt does not have hold of you. You will no longer be defined by tragedy, but by the Love of God. And that’s where Jesus is leading you now.
The prayer that we gave out last week with the red knotted string, is the prayer that my mentor gave me. And I want to pray it now also, because it puts us smack in the middle of real conversation with God, and in the process of real forgiveness. “God, as much as we can, we offer to you all our anger for the things that were not as they should be. We offer to you all the people who wronged us this day. We ask you to forgive them and we pray that we would, miraculously find in us a forgiving heart that trusts in your justice and relies on your mercy,because Jesus Christ who loves us. Amen.”
The end of Sadako’s story goes like this: There were only 644 cranes when Sadako left her hospital bed. Her classmates honored their friend’s wish and took to folding the remaining 456 and she was buried with 1,000 cranes. The story spread and the origami crane became a symbol of peace everywhere. It even spread to Edmonds, where over the last few days giant cranes have been popping up all around town… I wonder who’s been doing that? In this Free Form space, Jesus invites you to continue folding. How might you fold peace into your family, work place, neighborhood, the planet even… So, as an act of prayer, you can fold a crane, or just write a name or a place on a pre-folded crane and string them together at the table. Remember, Jesus is here, folding with you.