I have a new therapist. Breaking in a new therapist is always an interesting experience. Some of them just ask questions, keeping any kind of personal info to a minimum. My last therapist was that type. I left her office knowing nothing more than her credentials and her taste in decor.
This new guy is different. When I have an appointment it's not all about me. And that's okay too. It's a technique I've used myself more than once. But today he asked a curious question at the end of our session, "Have you ever written a sermon about forgiveness?" I wasn't quite sure how to answer, except to say "Yes."
My new doctor is in his 60's. A nice Jewish fellow who serves on the board of his temple. He's been a therapist for a good long time. And I am so very fascinated by his question. Was it really about his desire to understand more about forgivness? Or was this a question about me?
He said he might like to read one of my sermons on forgiveness as it is something he has to help people with now and again. I'm not sure which one I want to give him. But maybe some of this would do. I wrote it in September of 2001.
In his letter to the Romans, Paul wrote:“I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, no anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.”
Our calling today is to love in that same way. To love without limits. To love without hesitancy. That’s the best weapon we have against the terror that has been unleashed upon us.
We are called to welcome the stranger and the wanderer in our midst. We are called to share our bread, our life and our love with all who are in need. So that there are no hidden places. No lost coins. No missing sheep.
Our calling is to live like Jesus. We are to bear witness to the world that our faith makes a difference. It affects the way that we treat others.
We must be clear in showing the world that the love of Christ is extended to all people. That’s how we will demonstrate the difference that faith makes. We can be “a light to the nations.” If we live the love of Christ. If we follow Jesus.
In these difficult times, we are called to be a people of hope. A people of loving actions. A people of prayer. A people of thoughtful and faithful discussion. And a people who are committed to working towards healing and forgiveness.
My dear brothers and sisters, we have a choice. We can live in terror and let our grief rule our heads and our hearts - or we can follow Jesus.
When he wrote to his friends in Corinth, Paul put it like this, “Keep alert, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.”
One reporter this week said that “courage is fear that has said it’s prayers.” And so I would commend you to be faithful in your calling. Be diligent in your prayers. Keep hope alive in your heart. Knowing that the love of God goes with you always. May we go forth from this place today, following Jesus.