It appears the lectionary was ahead of us.
Two weeks ago, the gospel text dealt with managing conflict in a congregation. Last week, the word was forgiveness.
For those who are familiar with our congregation or a part of it, you know these are two texts God needed for us to hear.
With the announcement of our senior pastor's retirement, some of our folks panicked, concerned there had been some form of injustice against one or both pastors. Who could be responsible for the alleged injustice? Fingers were pointed, harsh words have been spoken, and the number of times Jesus tells Peter to forgive may be outnumbered by the hurts that have been caused.
I am deeply saddened how right Jesus is about forgiveness; that it must be done again and again and again because we may be inclined to be hurtful toward each other again and again and again.
Bottom line: People LOVE their church. The harsh words that have been spoken have been out of care and concern for their pastors and their church.
And so, where do we go from here?
I am a firm believer that it is not moments in life that define us, but how we function out of them. And as people of faith, we are death and resurrection people, always seeing each other through the eyes of Christ. These hurts will not define us because we know how to look for Christ in each other.
We know where there is forgiveness, there is the hope of healing, so that we might burst forth of out of the tomb with the same confusion and assurance of the resurrection as Mary Magdalene on Easter morning.
People of faith, children of God with me, we have been called and claimed in the wild waters of Holy Baptism to trust in the healing hope of forgiveness. In those wet and wonderful waters that never dry up, we are placed in a community of believers, where one person grieving means a community is grieving, and one person rejoicing means a community is rejoicing. May the light of God's face shine upon us and grant us forgiveness and forgiving hearts and minds.