Father, Forgive Them

Today is Saturday, March 28, 2020, in the fourth week of Lent. Peace be with you.

Day 22,661

Fifteen days until Easter

We have some coronavirus cases that are a little close to home. Kristin (the “Kristin” of The Church at Brandon and Kristin’s), has a cousin whose wife’s grandfather is about to pass away from the virus. The grandmother is also showing symptoms. In addition, that cousin will not have a job after this week, and they have a baby on the way. Also, Kristin’s sister has a coworker whose brother-in-law has it, and they had had recent contact with him. Her baby came down with a fever a couple days ago. Another previous member of The Exchange has a coworker who came down with 102 fever, severe cough and fatigue. But they won’t test her because she isn’t having trouble breathing.

There is some good news in the midst of all of this. Our other worship leader’s wife has a friend whose 21-year-old daughter came down with the virus. But she appears to be recovering. She still has the cough, but the fever is gone.

At this point, there have been no symptoms in this house. I have occasional soreness in my throat, but that comes and goes. I have “sniffles” now and then, but I’m also an allergy sufferer, and “’tis the season.”

Our ex-pastor wrote a blog entry. I would like for you to read it. As usual, his writing contains some very deep thoughts. It’s called “Abide.”

I also found this article from The Atlantic, “How the Pandemic Will End.” I’ll warn you, though. It’s a bit terrifying.

Today, nothing happens. Sure, we will take trash out and stuff like that. Oh, I might attend the WW virtual workshop at 10:30. But we can’t really go anywhere. I put fuel in the car yesterday evening on the way home from work. We placed a grocery order last night, but we’re having it delivered. The earliest day to get it delivered is Monday. But that’s okay, because we have enough food in the house, and C is working from home, so she will be here to accept the delivery Monday. We will wait and see how many of the items we picked aren’t available when the shopper begins picking the order. The only thing I’m expecting to be possibly out is the paper towels.

Speaking of WW (formerly Weight Watchers), I have lost around 18 pounds since we started attending WW workshops, and over 25 pounds in the last two months. My fasting glucose levels were regularly hitting below 90, so I sent a note to the doctor, and they told me to stop taking one of my meds. Naturally, the readings have increased slightly, but I’ll keep an eye on them and report back to the doctor in a week or so.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

Awake, my glory! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn!
(Psalms 57:8)

Today I am grateful:
1. For the weekend to rest for the coming work week
2. That I still have a job to go to (I get it . . . there are risks involved, but I’m still getting a paycheck, and my job is not one that will be able to work from home)
3. That we can cast all our cares on You, because You care for us (1 Peter 5.7)
4. That “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Corinthians 13.7)
5. That we can forgive as we are forgiven

“O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon [us].
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon [us].
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, grant [us] your peace.”
(Agnus Dei)

“For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father.”
(Glory to God #1)

Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O LORD, faithful God.
(Psalms 31:5)

And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. And he said this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
(Mark 8:31-33)

In you, O LORD, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame! In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me; incline your ear to me, and save me! Be to me a rock of refuge, to which I may continually come; you have given the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress. Rescue me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of the unjust and cruel man. For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O LORD, from my youth. Upon you I have leaned from before my birth; you are he who took me from my mother’s womb. My praise is continually of you. I have been as a portent to many, but you are my strong refuge. My mouth is filled with your praise, and with your glory all the day. Do not cast me off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength is spent.
(Psalms 71:1-9)

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Your Name. May Your kingdom come, and Your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for Yours are the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

“Almighty God, you know that we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves: Keep me both outwardly in my body and inwardly in my soul, that I may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”
(The Divine Hours, The Prayer Appointed for the Week)

Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
(1 Peter 5:7)

Now the sons of the prophets said to Elisha, “See, the place where we dwell under your charge is too small for us. Let us go to the Jordan and each of us get there a log, and let us make a place for us to dwell there.” And he answered, “Go.” Then one of them said, “Be pleased to go with your servants.” And he answered, “I will go.” So he went with them. And when they came to the Jordan, they cut down trees. But as one was felling a log, his axe head fell into the water, and he cried out, “Alas, my master! It was borrowed.” Then the man of God said, “Where did it fall?” When he showed him the place, he cut off a stick and threw it in there and made the iron float. And he said, “Take it up.” So he reached out his hand and took it.
(2 Kings 6:1-7)

“God cares about the small stuff of life—lost axheads, lost keys, lost glasses, lost phones—the little things that cause us to fret. He doesn’t always restore what’s lost, but He understands and comforts us in our distress.

“Next to the assurance of our salvation, the assurance of God’s care is essential. Without it we would feel alone in the world, exposed to innumerable worries. It’s good to know He cares and is moved by our losses—small as they may be. Our concerns are His concerns.”
(David H. Roper, Our Daily Bread)

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.
(Philippians 4:11)

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
(Romans 12:12)

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
(1 Corinthians 13:7)

(From The Songs of Jesus, by Timothy and Kathy Keller)

Even my close friend, someone I trusted, one who shared my bread, has turned against me. But may you have mercy on me, LORD; raise me up, that I may repay them. I know that you are pleased with me, for my enemy does not triumph over me. Because of my integrity you uphold me and set me in your presence forever. Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Amen and Amen.
(Psalms 41:9-13 NIV)

This is an interesting passage, and the written devotional reading is also interesting. It speaks of David’s call to God to raise him up so that he may repay the one who has turned against him. He also speaks of God upholding him because of his integrity. I struggle with this, personally. What I struggle with is a guy who essentially raped a woman, then murdered her husband, talking about his own “integrity.”

But, in the bigger picture, that’s not what this reading is about. We fast forward a few centuries to Jesus on the cross, faced with several who have betrayed Him and harmed Him. Earlier in the book of John, He applied some words from this psalm to Himself. “‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.'” He said (John 13.18). But then, while on the cross, He uttered these famous words: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23.34)

And that is how we should respond to those who betray us.

Prayer: Father, there are persons who wronged me in the past whom, I realize, I have not fully forgiven. I hold their actions against them. I avoid them or I’m unusually hard on them. Let your costly grace to me through Jesus Christ so melt my icy heart that I can forgive fully and freely. Amen.”

Father, I don’t know of anyone, right this moment, that I have not forgiven. But there are people in my life whom I may not like very much because of actions in the past (or even present). Help me to love those people they way You have loved me, fully and freely. Help me to treat them the way You treat me, and the way that I would have them treat me.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

“As for me, I would seek God, and to God would I commit my cause, who does great things and unsearchable, marvelous things without number.” Job 5.8-9

Grace and peace, friends.