Sunday, September 11, 2005

Proper 19, Year A, September 11

Liturgical color: greenLectionary and Tradition is a resource for sermon preparation, Bible study and lectio divina. This Sunday, Martin Luther on our duty to forgive our neighbor (Mt. 18:21-35). Also: the Heidelberg Catechism on forgiveness.

Reading from Hebrew Scripture with Responsorial Psalm
Ex. 14:19-31 with Ps. 114 or Ex. 15:1b-11, 20-21 or
Gen. 50:15-21 with Ps. 103:(1-7)8-13 and

Rom. 14:1-12 and

Mt. 18:21-35

Weekly Theme
Forgiving and Forgiven

Focus Statement
"How often should I forgive?"

It is therefore decreed when we deal with God that we must stand free, and let goods, honor, right, wrong, and everything go that we have; and we will not be excused when we say: I am right, therefore I will not suffer anyone to do me wrong, as God requires that we should renounce all our rights and forgive our neighbor.

Thus your goods are no longer your own, but your neighbor's. God could indeed have kept his own, for he owed you nothing. Yet he gives himself wholly to you, becomes your gracious Lord, is kind to you, and serves you with all his goods, and what he has is all yours. Why then will you not do likewise? Hence, if you wish to be in his kingdom you must do as he does, but if you want to remain in the kingdom of the world, you will not enter his kingdom.

Those who do not prove their faith by their works of love are servants who want others to forgive them, but do not forgive their neighbor, nor yield their rights: therefore it will be with them as with this servant. Then God will summon them to appear before him at the Last Judgment and accuse them of these things and say: When you were hungry, thirsty and afflicted, I helped you; when you lay in sins I had compassion on you and forgave the debt; therefore you must also now pay your debt.

Forgiveness of sin ... is the whole kingdom of Christ, which lasts forever without end. For as the sun shines and gives no less light though I close my eyes, so this mercy seat or forgiveness of sins stands forever, though I fall. And as I see the sun again as soon as I open my eyes, so I have the forgiveness of sins again when I look up and again come to Christ. Therefore we must not make forgiveness so narrow, as the fools dream.

Source: "Sermon for the 22nd Sunday after Trinity," from Sermons of Martin Luther, v. 5, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

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What do you believe concerning "the forgiveness of sins"?

I believe that God,
because of Christ's atonement,
will never hold against me
any of my sins
nor my sinful nature
which I need to struggle against all my life.

Rather, in his grace
God grants me the righteousness of Christ
to free me forever from judgment.

Source: "Heidelberg Catechism," 1563, translation authorized by the Christian Reformed Church in North America.

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