Moved with compassion the master of that servant let him go and forgave him the loan.
Welcome on this Back To Church Sunday.
For those who are new here or newer, we keep this national day of welcome each year to provide an opportunity for those who may be exploring church for the first time or the first time in a long time.
For others of us, church is a regular thing. We are here almost all-the-time. Yet sometimes even among us who are frequent church goers – well we need a chance to reconnect, to re-establish in our lives those things that make church so very special.
The National Back To Church team surveys participating congregations each year to arrive at the next year’s theme. There have been some really great themes, but this one – well it is extra special. This year’s Back To Church theme is CELEBRATION!
You see, whether we are here for the first time, the first time in a long time, or for the millionth time we need to find in this experience of Jesus reason to celebrate.
Now, I must plainly admit, in my life getting up and going to church always seemed like a chore. I can hear my mom now, Get ready! Let’s go! We’re going to be late. Sometimes we face weather or just common driving challenges in getting to church. Then there’s the parking and walking. It could be a turn-off. Sometimes we don’t quite understand the pastor (I hope that’s not true…). It can be many things.
If our focus is on those things, perhaps we have lost touch with with the many things we have to celebrate in Jesus?
Peter asks Jesus about forgiveness: “how often must I forgive?” Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.”
That is not an answer that relies on counting things, for we rely too much on keeping account of. Jesus’ answer means an uncountable number of times, an entire life filled with and marked by forgiveness, the forgiveness of a good and loving God.
That, brothers and sisters, is what we celebrate, that as Christians we have been forgiven everything, every time, an uncountable number of times. We are reconciled to God and saved forever. We celebrate because God gave Himself totally to save us. Because we can look at ourselves and each other differently, as freed people. Because Jesus instituted this – church – where regardless of former relationships we are family and care for each other – living Jesus’ way forever.