Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Matthew 18:21-35

Year A - Pentecost +14 or Community Practice 14
September 14, 2014

In today’s world, with slavery gone underground and been institutionalized in economic policy, it is be important to review that forgiveness is not a one-way street.

The very beginning of Jesus’ story telling about the Presence of G*D makes us wonder about what would lead a king to even begin to consider forgiveness unless it is to remind folks how much they are dependent upon the king.

Eventually we see a king that will forgive some things but not others. An alternative is a king who requires emulation and will torture to see that their image, their slave, reflects themself back to themself.

Of course, these stories are not intended to be one-to-one correspondences to life. Nonetheless, we wish more had been revealed here about the initial forgiveness of financial debt racked up in every company-store setting and what mercy/forgiveness is needed for the king/CEO. If mercy is the category of the day, what are the limits of that mercy by the end of the story? Do we need some provisional ways of describing mercy?

This mercy is to make me look good, thank me.
This mercy is instructional, repeat it.
This mercy is time-bound, be thankful for little things.
This mercy is a set up, beware.
This mercy is to be translated into other settings, learn from it.
This mercy is to further indebt you, serve better.
This mercy is to . . . .

Having thought of a few of the ways mercy is circumscribed and kept from being an underlying understanding of a creative impulse, what might have to change the next time you use the word? Is this a primary word (way we live toward or in response to life experiences)? Is this a secondary word (a useful tool to arrive at a self-defined destination)?

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