quinta-feira, 13 de agosto de 2015

Erbarme dich, mein Gott

Erbarme dich from Bach’s St Matthew Passion. Erbarme dich, mein Gott, um meiner Zähren willen ‘Have mercy, my God, for the sake of my tears.’ As you sit here now, what are the sorrows and pains you are carrying? Today’s reading is from the Gospel of Matthew 18:21-35.19:1: Peter approached Jesus and asked him, "Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?" Jesus answered, "I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times. That is why the kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who decided to settle accounts with his servants. When he began the accounting, a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount. Since he had no way of paying it back, his master ordered him to be sold, along with his wife, his children, and all his property, in payment of the debt. At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.' Moved with compassion the master of that servant let him go and forgave him the loan. When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a much smaller amount. He seized him and started to choke him, demanding, 'Pay back what you owe.' Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.' But he refused. Instead, he had him put in prison until he paid back the debt. Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened, they were deeply disturbed, and went to their master and reported the whole affair. His master summoned him and said to him, 'You wicked servant! I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to. Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?' Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers until he should pay back the whole debt. So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives his brother from his heart." When Jesus finished these words, he left Galilee and went to the district of Judea across the Jordan. Jesus speaks bluntly in this passage of the pain of being unforgiven, and even of punishment, in a way that might seem threatening. But the underlying message here is about forgiveness, about the need for forgiveness. For a few moments, can you call to mind what un-forgiveness there is in your life? - hurts you have suffered from other people that you haven't got over, or lingering guilt you might feel about things you've done to others that you wish you hadn't? Now think of those first words Jesus utters in this passage, that Peter should forgive "not seven times, but seventy-seven times", and for a moment, imagine him saying this to you. When you apply this to your situation, how does it make you feel? More at ease? ... or perhaps inadequate? ... or does it stir in you some desire for a change of heart? Read again to the first part of the reading, noticing how you feel at the moment when the king has pity and forgives. Unforgiven pains and resentments hurt the person who won't forgive as much as the person who is not forgiven. Speak to the Lord now about any guilt or resentment you need to be liberated from. Sometimes you can only honestly say, "I would like to forgive, but I can't at the moment." That desire may be enough for now.

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