Pastor Travis Smith paced First Baptist Church’s sanctuary, decorated for the holidays. He addressed his congregation in Stover, Missouri, about forgiveness. “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you,” he read from the Gospel of Matthew.
Michelangelo and Rembrandt depicted him bearded and robed, seated and downcast, absorbed with inexpressible grief. His hand cradles his face, wrinkled from a lonely and thankless vocation. He was threatened, put on trial, imprisoned, publicly humiliated and thrown into a pit.