The norm in Jesus' day within the Jewish context was to forgive someone up to three times for grievances committed against them. After extending such graciousness, then one was free to disassociate and disregard the individual if it persisted. In many ways this in itself was seen as countercultural to those outside the Jewish context. So, as Peter asks if one should forgive seven times, he indicates he is absorbing Jesus' teaching by extending even more grace.
However, Jesus' reply to Peter pushes the expectation even farther to get to the heart of the issue. For Jesus states that one should not forgive merely seven times, but seventy times seven. To drive the point home, he concludes with a parable teaching about radical waiving of debts to show how we are to forgive as we have been forgiven by God. It truly blew the lid off of any cultural standards of the day, and would come as a start challenge to all who heard it.
It seems fitting for us to contemplate such a lesson as we begin a new fall calendar year, because we too are called to be countercultural. All that we do as a church is designed to help us grow as apprentices of Jesus and to assist us in following his life and teaching. It is for this reason that I urge you to make many of the fall offerings a priority.
The primary ongoing opportunities this fall are Wednesday night Alpha and Sunday morning studies. Wednesday night Alpha is for the whole family.
Alpha is a great program to empower us to articulate the faith, while simultaneously providing a safe atmosphere for us to bring others who may be wrestling or even hostile to the faith into conversation about it.
Sunday mornings at 9 a.m. we will meet for our Inquirer's or Church Membership Classes to explore our expression of Christianity within the Anglican context.
Following Sunday service, children and teens have an opportunity to grow in the faith during Sunday School as they dive into God's Word in fun and creative ways. While they meet, adults begin to mine the riches of the faith as they explore it in relationship with one another through a new tool, the catechism.
I encourage you to make such offerings a part of your fall routine, so that you may be salt and light in our world today. The Christian witness is not easy in our culture today, and so it is important that we encourage, grow, and uphold one another as we bear witness to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.