Preparing for Worship: When Love Comes to Town

Preparing for Worship: When Love Comes to Town

John Haralson   •   January 5, 2018

Rembrandt van RijnThe Return of the Prodigal Son, 
Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg

From our vantage point, [grace] is always given to the wrong person. The most extravagant sinners of Jesus’s day receive his most compassionate welcome. Grace is a divine vulgarity that stands caution on its head.
Preston Sprinkle

Dear Friends,

Think of your most significant financial debt you have. It could be credit card debt, a school loan, or a mortgage. 

What if you got an email from someone you didn’t know claiming they had a program just for you that would allow your debt to be totally wiped away by the lender? How would you respond?

If you’re wise, you probably wouldn’t believe it. Surely there has to be some kind of catch. Banks don’t just forgive loans. This is probably one of those email scams from the person posing as a Nigerian prince.

In Luke 7, Jesus tells a parable about a scenario just like that. A moneylender forgave two debts, and one of the debts was roughly the equivalent of two years’ wages.

It was a pretty shocking parable. Everyone hearing it knew that people who loaned money never let debts owed to them go unpaid. 

Jesus makes the point that God’s forgiveness for our sins can be equally hard to believe. God doesn’t really forgive sins, does he? He doesn’t really forgive sins of people that I have stereotyped and reduced to their worst moments. He doesn’t really forgive my sins that sometimes loom so large in my mind that my whole existence is circumscribed those sins. In those moments, I am my sins and nothing more.

God doesn’t forgive those kinds of sins, does he?

This week, we see Jesus meet a woman whose sins were numerous and so awful that she doesn’t even have a name. She is only known as “the sinner”. 

And, she is forgiven by Jesus. 

This week: Luke 7:36-50, When Love Comes to Town.

I hope to worship with you. Order of worship is here.

John

P.S. Christian Formation resumes this Sunday at 10:30am. Grace Kids classes will meet in their regular rooms. There will be a special Christian Formation class taking place in the sanctuary led by Jason. YCG will be joining the adults for that time.