MT 18: 21-35
Sunday between 11th & 17th 2005, Sept.11th...17th S.after Pentecost

Forgiveness & arithmetic don't make good companions. The vast sum owed by the first servant & the comparatively trivial amount by the second, are exaggerations on the part of the Master Story Teller. He knows how to put a point across! But do we 'get it' any more than the first servant did? Even after what God has done for us in Jesus? Do we know, have we forgotten, or are we just blase' about just how much God has forgiven us?

Do you ever despair, as I do sometimes, at what seems to be an over-emphasis on confession in most liturgies. A hangover from medieval & other control freaks who want to keep us in their debt if not in God's? Shout me down if you will, but don't we need to develop a liturgy that emphasises the fact that we have been forgiven. That we live in a state of forgiven-ness. We may give formal assent to that, but we don't seem very good at celebrating it in liturgy any more than in life.

The forgiving over-Lord is one of only three people, apart from Jesus (all three are parable figures) of whom the word compassion = 'being moved in your guts' - is used. (The Forgiving Father & the Good Samaritan are the others.) Wouldn't it be great to be counted with them? But not parable figures; as real life ones. Little Jesuses so moved in our guts at the plight of the hurt & unforgiven that we go in to bat for them whatever it takes?

We can only experience God's Rule as a Rule where forgiveness is the norm when we ourselves give it & receive it. Where there is no forgiveness, there is only alienation from the Forgiving God. The flip-side of compassion? Wrath! Pure Hell! But don't blame God for that. God didn't invent Hell! We do! And keep on re-inventing it. No-one need live in Hell any more than anyone needs to live in poverty today if only the rest of us would get serious about it!