Jeremiah 4:11-12, 22-28; Psalm 14; (Exodus 32:7-14; Psalm 51:1-10;) 1 Timothy 1:12-17; Luke 15:1-10
Proverbs 1:20-33; Psalm 19; (Isaiah 50:4-9a; Psalm 116:1-9 or Wisdom of Solomon 7:26 - 8:1;) James 3:1-12; Mark 8:27-38
Exodus 14:19-31; Psalm 114 or Exodus 15:1b-11, 20-21; (Genesis 50:15-21; Psalm 103:[1-7], 8-13;) Romans 14:1-12; Matthew 18:21-35
My wife and I have two sons, 12 and 14, and a standard-size refrigerator. Hence, we spend a lot of time at the grocery store. As I wait to pay for one day’s installment of food, I am invited to learn the full story about the semiprivate lives of numerous celebrities. If the number of these publications is anything to go by, our desire for insider knowledge is insatiable. We want to know all of the details and we want to know them now.
Only a few of the 365 days in each year are associated with extraordinary events, but for those who experienced the events, the dates arouse great emotion. For Koreans, August 15 commemorates the restoration of the country’s independence after a Japanese occupation of 36 years. June 25 marks the outbreak of the Korean War. And for those of us who live in the U.S., September 11 will always be the day America was attacked.
The best storytellers paint pictures with words, using them to fill our minds with vivid imagery. I remember reading the first Harry Potter novel to my first-grade son. Each time we completed a chapter and I turned the page to start a new one he would shift in my lap and look away from the book. Finally I asked him what was wrong. He replied, “I don’t want to see the drawing on the first page of the chapter because I want to think about what things look like all by myself.”
With fall education programs getting under way and Sunday school teachers beginning another year of teaching, it may be disconcerting to hear this reading from James: “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.”
Matthew’s Jesus tells a parable, one that leaves us with no doubt about forgiveness—and about how Christian community treats forgiveness differently than the rest of the world does.