This, then, is how you should pray:
“….And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.”
I want to share a little secret that might be surprising to hear from a Pastor….
I really struggle with forgiveness.
In fact, I would go so far as to say that I find that forgiving others is one of the most complex parts of being a Christian. And I think the biggest reason why I find forgiveness so difficult is because of how unnatural it feels.
You see, maybe you’re a better person than me, but when someone intentionally mistreats or hurts me, I find that my gut response is to retaliate in kind. And on top of that, I also struggle with forgiveness because the older I get, the more I realize how awful people can be to one another and how deep the wounds can be that we inflict on one another. And I suspect that it was similar observations about the difficulty of forgiveness that led C.S. Lewis to write, “Everyone thinks forgiveness is a lovely idea until he has something to forgive.”
And yet, every time I read the Lord’s Prayer, I’m reminded that forgiving others is a spiritual need of mine that is just as real as my need to be forgiven by God.
And maybe that’s why Jesus included a call to forgive others in this prayer that He taught us to pray. And perhaps, Christ taught us to pray these words regularly because He knows how hard forgiveness is and how messy, complicated, and difficult it can be. And He knows that we need to be regularly reminded to extend grace and forgiveness to those who have mistreated us…..because forgiveness isn’t easy.
And I think that here’s a sort of grace that comes from naming that. And perhaps it’s only when we acknowledge how difficult forgiveness is that we can begin to rely on our sin-forgiving God to show us how to forgive those who have trespassed against us.
Update on Church’s Health & Safety Policies
Due to the surge of COVID-19 cases and growing concern about the Delta variant, our church now requires all persons who worship with us or participate in small groups to wear a mask when indoors. In addition, we will not be having food and drink in the Fellowship Hall after services though individuals are free to socialize there after church. If you want a copy of our detailed health and safety policies, you can email our office manager, Gretchen, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Resuming Sunday School in the Fall
We are resuming Sunday School for students pre-K to 5th on Sunday, September 12th. If you plan for your child to attend Sunday School during this upcoming year, we ask that you fill out a registration form and mail it back to the church (116 Main Street, Flemington, NJ 08822). If you have a school-aged child but did not receive a registration form in the mail, you can email email@example.com to obtain a form. Finally, please note that Sunday School will require all students and teachers to wear masks, per our church’s health and safety policies.
House Meetings to Welcome Pastor Chris
During the summer, we are holding small gatherings to provide an opportunity for members to spend time with Pastor Chris and for him to learn more about the people and ministries of our church. These meetings will be held outside and will be mask-optional. Our next house meeting will be:
Sunday, August 15th at 3 pm at Eric and Becky Brunbergs
We are looking for one volunteer to buy food and another volunteer to deliver food for the week of August 29th to September 5th. Should you purchase the food, you will be given the names and needs of the individual/or family a week in advance. If you are interested in being part of this important outreach ministry, please connect with either Walter Maze or John Newton.
Resuming Prayer List
If you have a prayer request, you can fill out a prayer card in the back of the sanctuary or email our Office Manager, Gretchen, at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be sure to add it to the list!
You will find every newsletter, worship service, devotional, and additional material posted to our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/FlemingtonUnitedMethodist/
Even if you don’t use Facebook, you can access everything we have there. If you do have a Facebook account, “like” to follow our page and be notified when new things are posted or when videos are about to go live so you don’t miss anything.