Preaching Connection: Forgiveness

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Movies for Preaching

Heaven (2002)

Directed by Tom Tykwer.  Written by Krzysztof Kieslowski and Krysztof Piesiewicz.  Music by Arvo Pärt.  Starring Cate Blanchett, Giovanni Ribisi, and Remo Girone.  97 mins.  Rated  R. For all of their importance in living, there are very few confession sequences in films, at least good ones.  The best known, perhaps, is implicit.  George Bailey in…

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Reading for Preaching

The Four Loves

“There is a delicious illustration of really good domestic manners in [Laurence Sterne’s] Tristram Shandy.  At a singularly unsuitable moment Uncle Toby has been holding forth on his favorite theme of fortification.  ‘My Father,’ driven for once beyond endurance, violently interrupts.  Then he sees his brother’s face; the utterly unretaliating face of Toby, deeply wounded,...
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No Future Without Forgiveness

“One of the most blasphemous consequences of injustice, especially racist injustice, is that it can make a child of God doubt that he or she is a child of God.”
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Miss Manners’ Guide for the Turn of the Millenium

Bad manners are limitless in their forms of ingenuity: eavesdropping, interrupting, asking how much your host’s crystal set cost, namedropping, prying, confessing too much, complaining, giving unsolicited advice, asking professional advice in a social setting, asking “Why do you have so many children?” asking “Why don’t you have any children?” asking “Did you have a...
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No Future Without Forgiveness

‘”. . . this third way of amnesty [the TRC] was consistent with a central feature of the African Welstanschauung–what we know in our languages as ubuntu, in the Nguni group of languages, or botho, in the Sotho languages.” What is it that constrained so many to choose to forgive rather than to demand retribution,...
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Crime and Punishment

Marmeladov’s drunken prospective for divine forgiveness at the end: “and when [the judge] has finished with everyone, then he shall say to us: ‘And ye also,’ he’ll say, ‘come forth! Come forth ye winebibbers, come forth ye weaklings, come forth ye profligates!’ And we will all come forth and stand there unashamed. And he shall...
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“Being Mugged”

On Saturday, July 19, 1997, on the way to the Staten Island Ferry in lower Manhattan, Catherine Stimpson was mugged by a young man, who ran up from behind her in a hit-and-run mugging, and who cracked and chipped her humerus (bone from shoulder to elbow) in the act. Everything changed. She had been independent....
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Additional content related to Forgiveness

John 20:19-31

Comments, Questions and Observations Often, the focus of this week’s Easter Lectionary is on Thomas. His “doubt” is rather relatable, and it seems to be what Jesus reflects directly upon when he declares a beatitude about belief.  (It really is too bad for Thomas that he wasn’t there that Easter evening with the other disciples….

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Psalm 63:1-8

When a psalm is as relatively brief as Psalm 63 and yet you notice that the Lectionary would have you stop reading—and presumably stop preaching—three verses shy of the actual conclusion of the poem, one might be justified in wondering what’s up.  What is in those last few verses?  Why the full stop before this…

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Exodus 34:29-35

To understand the end of Exodus 34, you need to catch up on two things: the immediate context of this chapter in Exodus and also what happened in the first 9 verses of this 34th chapter, the final effect of which you can read in the Lectionary selection of verses 29-35. First of all, then,…

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Genesis 45:3-11, 15

Easter in the Western Church can come as early as the third Sunday in March and as late as the last Sunday in April.  Falling as it does on April 17 this year, Easter’s late date means an extra-long season after Epiphany and that in turns means getting to some RCL texts we don’t see…

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Malachi 3:1-4

Have you ever read a classic book you’d never before read only to run across a line you knew by heart?  “Oh,” you might say, “I didn’t know this is where that saying came from!”  For instance, John Donne’s works are peppered with lines that have assumed a life of their own.  People who don’t…

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2 Samuel 11:26-12:13a

But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord. Talk about dramatic understatement! The presence of the Lord had been absent throughout the whole chapter of 2 Samuel 11 until the very end.  But that’s only on the surface.  Most everything David did here was “while no one else was looking,” but we know…

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Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13

Maybe the Consultation on Common Texts that puts together the Revised Common Lectionary thinks that Advent is no time to think about God’s anger over sin.  Because by carving verses 3-7 out of this lection from Psalm 85, we once again edit the Almighty.  It’s OK to start with the first 2 verses and lyric…

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Philippians 3:4b-14

“Are you becoming perfect?” is the perhaps strange way Carole Noren, to whom I owe many ideas for this Commentary, begins a sermon on Philippians 3.  It is, however, also an appropriate question, in light of the amount of attention the New Testament pays to the issue of perfection. While Christians may sense that the…

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Romans 1:1-7

God saves God’s adopted children by grace alone that we can only receive with our faith in Jesus Christ.  However, God always calls those whom God loves to express that faith with our obedience. Someone once said, “Make a good beginning and you’re half the way to winning.”  Certainly, then, Paul seems halfway to winning…

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Psalm 32:1-7

Most of his friends had been hanged.  But despite his central role in helping to construct Adolf Hitler’s Nazi nightmare, Albert Speer somehow managed to receive from the Nuremberg trials only a 20-year sentence at the Spandau Prison in Berlin.  Not long after arriving in Spandau, Speer met with the prison chaplain.  To the chaplain’s…

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John 21:1-19

In a recent interview with Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times, Union Seminary President Serene Jones makes it plain that she does not believe Jesus physically rose again from the dead.  She claimed this in part because “the gospels are all over the place” about the resurrection and she cited the fact that Mark…

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Isaiah 65:17-25

Every preacher knows what a challenge it is to preach on Easter.  On the one hand, it is the epicenter of the Gospel, the event that makes or breaks the claims of Jesus, as Paul says in I Corinthians 15.  So, how can we mere mortals do justice to such a world changing moment in…

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Psalm 126

For a Lenten selection, this psalm is pretty sunny-side up and cheerful.  Maybe as Lent is coming to a close, we are supposed to see in this poem the promise of restoration beyond the cross toward which we are journeying this season.  This is, after all, one of the “Songs of Ascent” in the Book…

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Psalm 32

Most of his friends had been hanged.  But despite his central role in helping to construct Adolf Hitler’s Nazi nightmare, Albert Speer somehow managed to receive from the Nuremberg trials only a twenty-year sentence at the Spandau Prison in Berlin.  Not long after arriving in Spandau, Speer met with the prison chaplain.  To the chaplain’s…

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Psalm 63:1-8

When a psalm is as relatively brief as Psalm 63 and yet you notice that the Lectionary would have you stop reading—and presumably stop preaching—three verses shy of the actual conclusion of the poem, one might be justified in wondering what’s up.  What is in those last few verses?  Why the full stop before this…

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Exodus 34:29-35

Fittingly, the season of Epiphany ends with Transfiguration Sunday.  With the possible exception of his resurrection, Christ’s Transfiguration was the most spectacular exhibition of his glory in his life.  Indeed, the Transfiguration was arguably even more glorious than the Resurrection, because Jesus resurrected body did not have about it the unmistakable glory of his transfigured…

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Zephaniah 3:14-20

As I read Zephaniah, the memory of a bumper sticker came back to me.  It said, “Jesus is coming soon, and is he ever ticked!”  (It actually used a more vulgar term that gave the sticker more punch, but you get the point.)  That is exactly the mood of most of Zephaniah.  Indeed, if our…

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Luke 7:36-8:3

It’s such an interesting story, made the more curious by the Lectionary’s decision to extend the reading into the first 3 verses of Luke 8 where we encounter a brief list of the women who joined Jesus’ entourage of disciples and who even somehow bankrolled the ministry. Of course, that is just the capper to…

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Psalm 63:1-8

I have always been moved and challenged by Luke’s description of Christ’s decisive turn to the cross in Luke 9:51. “At the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.” An older translation put it more graphically; “Jesus set his face to go up to Jerusalem.” I…

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Exodus 34:29-35

To understand the end of Exodus 34, you need to catch up on two things: the immediate context of this chapter in Exodus and also what happened in the first 9 verses of this 34th chapter, the final effect of which you can read in the Lectionary selection of verses 29-35. First of all, then,…

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Zephaniah 3:14-20

Comments, Observations, and Questions I used to watch a TV show that was quite compelling and enjoyable but it did have one feature to it that I did not much like: on some episodes the show’s characters would find themselves sunk very deep down into dreadfully complex circumstances.  The episode would devote something like 92%…

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