Palimpsest: Lay Down Your Stones Part 1: Forgive Us

Luke 15:11-32

Those who don’t seek forgiveness carry a host of burdens. Every harsh word, every unclean thought, every instance in which we neglect to do the right thing or go ahead and do the wrong this — they’re all there. Without forgiveness, they create an ever-widening gap between us and God and between us and our fellow human beings. They sap our joy and then our strength. Fortunately, there is an answer. God’s answer to “the question implied in our existence” is that we seek God’s forgiveness and the forgiveness of those we’ve wronged. Seeking forgiveness can lighten our load. It can set us free. It can restore us to a right relationship with God and others. For, as the psalmist attests, “God is rich in mercy and abounding in steadfast love.” Throughout the Scriptures, God says, in effect, “Let me lift the burden from you.”
—Adam Hamilton, Forgiveness:
Finding Peace Through Letting Go

In the artistic representations of the parable we encounter the deepest of human matters: the questions of freedom and our destiny as human beings; the power of betrayal by a son of his father and the father’s hopes for him; the shape of sin and our ambiguous response to it; the need for repentance and forgiveness. We encounter a God whose love never forsakes us; the human experience of moving in a labyrinth of anger, jealousy, and a sense of injustice; and moments of forgiveness and acceptance, moments of grace by living through what the artist presents. We enter into and become the son who is forgiven; we experience the father who forgives.
—Wilson Yates, “The Prodigal Son Through the Artist’s Eye”
in And Grace Will Lead Me Home: Images of the Prodigal Son, Robert M. Brusic

Young man --
Young man --
Your arm's too short to box with God.
But Jesus spake in a parable, and he said:
A certain man had two sons.
Jesus didn't give this man a name,
But his name is God Almighty.
And Jesus didn't call these sons by name,
But ev'ry young man,
Is one of these two sons.
— James Wheldon Johnson, excerpt from “The Prodigal Son”

“Penance. It is more than your life. It is that scrubbing of the past which you want so much, because it is confession. It is the new birth of the present, which you want so much, because it prepares for deliverance. The one is separated from the other by forgiveness. It is the honoring, Chauntecleer, of the worth in his life. Penance. You can tell him you are sorry. He will forgive you...But now you have said it,” Pertelote said, “and that is good. That is the beginning of your life now, because it is the ending of something. Chauntecleer, maybe one day you will say the same to Mundo Cani, and then he will be able to speak his forgiveness in your hearing, and that will complete the matter. Then you will be free of it.”
—Walter Wangerin, Jr The Book of the Dun Cow

· What burdens of guilt have you carried in your life? Were you able to set them down? How?
· What practices of forgiveness do you have in your life?

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