Looking Forward to Sunday: Deep Waters of Forgiveness

Rev. Daniel Eggold

Sep 8, 2020

Readings:

Genesis 50:15–2; Psalm 103:1–12; Romans 14:1–12; Matthew 18:21–35

Historians tell us that a right-handed shake originated centuries ago, when showing your empty hand to the person you were approaching indicated that you were not brandishing a weapon.

     Churches have different practices around baptism. In some churches, a small bowl holds just enough water to trickle a few drops over the head. In others, the bowl is more prominent, and the water is splashed with the whole hand. In yet other churches, the person is fully immersed in a font large enough to go all the way underwater. Sometimes the water stays in the bowl, sometimes a bit splashes out, and sometimes the whole area around the font gets wet.

     But no matter the amount of water used, there’s always more where it comes from. God’s waters of forgiveness run deeper than we will ever know.

     The waters of baptism are so deep that even a few sprinkles cover a lifetime of falling short. We are forgiven time and again for a myriad of sins. And because the weight of sin has been lifted from us, we are free to extend such forgiveness to others.

     In fact, our faith depends on it. In the Lord’s Prayer, our petition for forgiveness is directly tied to our own willingness to forgive others. “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.” Thankfully, we are not expected to conjure up such forgiveness on our own. We draw from the endless supply of divine reserves. Where we, and Peter, might have difficulty forgiving a mere seven times, Jesus reminds us that his kind of forgiveness can be measured on an exponential scale.

     While our capacity for forgiveness may be limited, Jesus’ well of forgiveness is deep enough for all people and all matters of sin. When we find ourselves struggling to extend forgiveness to others, we return to the baptismal font. This is an overflowing well of love. Drawing from this water, we draw from the limitless supply of forgiveness.

     Remembering our baptism, we are reminded not only that we are forgiven, but that we, too, are agents of forgiveness in the world.

Prayer

O Lord God, merciful judge, you are the inexhaustible fountain of forgiveness. Replace our hearts of stone with hearts that love and adore you, that we may delight in doing your will, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.