Sunday, March 8, 2009

2nd Week of Lent, Monday

FIRST READING (Daniel 9:4b - 10)
"O Lord, the great and terrible God, who keepest covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, we have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from thy commandments and ordinances; we have not listened to thy servants the prophets, who spoke in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.

"To thee, O Lord, belongs righteousness, but to us confusion of face, as at this day, to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to all Israel, those that are near and those that are far away, in all the lands to which thou hast driven them, because of the treachery which they have committed against thee.

"To us, O Lord, belongs confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee.

"To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness; because we have rebelled against him, and have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God by following his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets."

GOSPEL READING (Luke 6:36-38)
At that time, Jesus said to his disciples: "Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For the measure you give will be the measure you get back."

"Confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed." — James 5:16

Someone cuts you off in traffic. Your boss asks you to look the other way at an unethical business practice. A spouse admits an affair.

Everyday life presents opportunities for forgiveness. Your response may be an indicator of the health of your Christian life.

"C.S. Lewis said he thought it would be easier to forgive a single murder than years of accumulated slights," says the Rev. L. Gregory Jones, dean of the Duke Divinity School. "But forgiveness is crucial for everyday living."

In an essay for "Practicing Our Faith," Jones wrote, "Forgiveness is crucial, because it is the means by which community is sustained over time."

To read the rest of this reflection click HERE.

Grant we beseech thee, merciful Lord,
to thy faithful people pardon and peace,
that they may be cleansed from all their sins,
serve thee with a quiet mind,
and gladly forgive one another.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord,
Who liveth and reigneth with thee,
in the unity of the Holy Ghost,
one God, world without end. Amen.

[I seldom approve of extending the themes in the Church’s ancient collects, but the addition of the line “and gladly forgive one another” (as suggested in the NZ Prayer Book) would seem to perfect this wonderful prayer in the light of today’s Gospel reading.]


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