Sunday’s sermon: Fighting with My Husband: Pent-Up to Peace-Filled


Text used – Matthew 18:21-35



  • Do you remember those Magic Eye pictures that were so popular back in the 1990s? They were in many of the most popular kids’ magazines. There were a number of Magic Eye books (which actually spent 73 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller list!). There were Magic Eye pictures on cereal boxes and notebook covers, postcards, calendars, even neckties! And there were all sorts of Magic Eye posters all over my elementary school.[1]
    • 3D picture within a picture images → larger, main image hidden within repeating smaller images
      • How to see 3D (from the Magic Eye website): Hold the center of the printed image right up to your nose. It should be blurry. Focus as though you are looking through the image into the distance. Very slowly move the image away from your face. Hold the page still and the hidden image will magically appear. Once you perceive the hidden image and depth, you can look around the entire 3D image. The longer you look, the clearer the illusion becomes. The farther away you hold the page, the deeper it becomes. Good Luck! → Magic Eye images are all about looking through what’s right in front of you to seeing what’s hidden underneath – the bigger picture.
    • Throughout the summer, we’ve been working our way through Tish Harrison Warren’s Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices for Everyday Life[2], and this week, we’re tackling a very particular chapter – chapter 6: “Fighting with My Husband: Passing the Peace and the Everyday Work of Shalom.”
      • Chapter about recognizing our role in the conflict and brokenness in the world around us
      • Chapter about forgiveness
      • Chapter about peace
      • (Like the Magic Eye images) Chapter about looking through the little things that are right in front of our eyes – the distractions, the minor irritations, the small frustrations – to the bigger issue that hides in the midst of them: our need for forgiveness and our need to seek grace from God and one another
        • Warren’s description of random fight with her husband: Most often what we’re arguing about – in this case a decision about our daughter’s schooling – isn’t really what we’re arguing about. What we are actually arguing about is our fears, anxieties, identities, and hopes, … how a pattern of criticism, comment by passing comment, bumps up against my own patterns of sin, woundedness, and self-defensiveness.[3] → It’s not an easy chapter, friends, but it is an important one. So let’s dig a little deeper.
  • We’re actually going to begin this morning by jumping back a bit, though. A few weeks ago, we talked about the importance of confession in our faith. Warren frames that chapter in the context of losing her keys.
    • Warren (about confession): The practice of confession and absolution must find its way into the small moments of sinfulness in my day. When it does, the gospel – grace itself – seeps into my day, and these moments are transformed.[4] → This is a crucial point to recognize because it speaks to the heart of why we seek the forgiveness and peace that we’re talking about today: because we’ve messed up.
      • We cannot seek forgiveness without first naming and claiming the reason for that forgiveness in the first place
        • Naming the ways we have hurt our loved ones
        • Naming the ways we have hurt our neighbors
        • Naming the ways we have hurt even ourselves
        • Naming the ways we have hurt God
        • Interesting phenomenon = sometimes it’s a lot easier to ask forgiveness from someone who’s more removed from you – someone distant, someone with whom you have a less personal relationship – than it is to ask forgiveness from someone you love
      • Warren: I can get caught up in the big ideas of justice and truth and neglect the small opportunities around me to extend kindness, forgiveness, and grace.[5]
  • See this played out in a very clear, dramatic way in our gospel reading this morning → “Parable of the Unforgiving Servant”
    • Certain king is settling up his accounts with his servants
    • King’s attendants “brought to him a servant who owed him ten thousand bags of gold (“talents” in many other translations)”[6] but servant “didn’t have enough to pay it back”[7] → Let’s pause for a minute, all, because we need to appreciate just how much money we’re talking about – how large this debt truly is. Yes, we can acknowledge that 10,000 of anything is a sizeable number, but this goes far beyond that.
      • Scholar: Ten thousand talents does not mean just ten thousand talents, since both “ten thousand” and “talent” serve in Greek as the largest possible number. The amount is so striking that some early Greek manuscripts reduced the number. However, the absurdity of the amount is crucial to the story.[8] → Remember that a talent was worth more than just a dollar. In the ancient world, a single talent was worth years of work (some estimates place it at 15 years per talent) for a servant like the one in this parable, so a sum of 10,000 talents is wholly unattainable. This is no way that this servant can possibly repay this debt. It is utterly impossible.
    • Instead of selling the servant and his family to make up even a portion of this astronomical sum, after the servant literally throws himself at the king’s feet and begs for mercy, the king chose to forgive the man’s debt – to wipe it clean
    • Servant turned around and found another servant who owed him a much, much smaller amount and accosted him – text: When that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him one hundred coins. He grabbed him around the throat and said, “Pay me back what you owe me.” Then his fellow servant fell down and begged him, “Be patient with me, and I’ll pay you back.” But he refused. Instead, he threw him into prison until he paid back his debt.[9] → Again we need to understand the amounts that we’re talking about here because the Greek words are different. The first servant’s debt was expressed in talents, in years of work. But the second servant’s debt is expressed in denarii – in coins. A denarii was roughly a day’s wage for a servant. So while the first servant owed the king multiple lifetime’s worth of pay, this second servant only owed his fellow servant a few month’s worth of work. And despite the overwhelming compassion that the first servant was shown when the king forgave his debt, he cannot find it within himself to bestow even a miniscule fraction of that forgiveness on another, even when the 2nd servant uses the exact same words that the 1st servant used with the king: “Be patient with me, and I’ll pay you back.”
    • Result: other servants were appalled by the first servant’s actions and went to the king → furious king revoked his initial forgiveness of the first servant’s debt and “handed him over to the guard responsible for punishing prisoners until he had paid the whole debt”[10]
      • Scholar: The text demands that we forgive others and that we forgive ourselves. It demands not simply that Jesus’ disciples be forgiving people, but that they constitute a community of forgiveness. The deeper demand of the text is to forgive others as our acceptance of God’s forgiveness. It is not so much that God’s forgiveness is contingent upon our forgiving others as that our forgiveness of others performs our acceptance of God’s forgiveness. Without that performance, how can we enjoy the gift we have been given? Enjoying a gift as truly gift means sharing that gift with others.[11] → “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us,” right?
  • Rhythm of confession and forgiveness in our regular worship service
    • Joining in Prayer: a prayer that we say out loud together, a prayer that includes words of repentance and confession
    • Hear God’s Promise of Grace (declare God’s mercy and forgiveness)
    • (That moment that I know many of us miss most desperately right now) Passing the Peace of Christ with one another → I love how long this action takes in this congregation. I love when we have new people here, and I get to say, “Fair warning, folx, this is going to take a while.” I love that in this congregation, everyone makes an effort to pass that peace to everyone else. We get up. We move around. There are kids running around. There is always, always laughter ringing. There are hugs. There are handshakes. There are fist bumps. It’s not a quiet, contemplative, subdued kind of peace! It’s a boisterous, overflowing, loving kind of peace … which I’m fairly certain is as close to God’s peace as we can possibly get.


      • Warren’s beautiful description of this: A friend of mine, a Presbyterian pastor, once remarked to me that each week when my four-year-old passes the peace, she is being formed in a particular worldview. She is practicing the truth that the extension of peace is vital to worship, that worshiping God is inextricably tied with seeking God’s kingdom of shalom by making peace with her neighbors. Through her church community, my daughter is being trained as a peacemaker.[12]
    • Speaks to the crucial, soul-changing concept of shalom in the Bible
      • Shalom = almost always translated as “peace” in Scripture … but it’s so much deeper than that!
      • Rev. Dr. Matthew Schlimm (UDTS professor and my Hebrew professor) in his book 70 Hebrew Words Every Christian Should Know[13]: Shalom refers to a peace of body, mind, spirit, and relationship. A person who feels shalom is complete and whole. … The presence of shalom means not only the absence of swords and wild beasts but also the presence of worry-free rest.[14]
        • The extravagant peace and wholeness that the king initially gave to that first servant
        • The extravagant peace and wholeness that Jesus speaks to Peter about at the beginning of our Scripture reading – text: Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, how many times should I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Should I forgive as many as seven times?” Jesus said, “Not just seven times, but rather as many as seventy-seven times.”[15]
        • Warren: It is not simply “peace” that we pass to each other. It is the peace of Christ, the peace of our peacemaker. Christ’s peace is never a cheap peace. It is never a peace that skims the surface or papers over the wrong that’s been done. It is not a peace that plays nicey-nice, denies hurt, or avoids conflict. It is never a peace that is insincere or ignores injustice. It’s a peace that is honest and hard-won, that speaks truth and seeks justice, that costs something, and that takes time. It is a peace that offers reconciliation.[16] → And so, my treasured friends, may the peace of Christ be with you. Amen.


[2] Tish Harrison Warren. Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press), 2016.

[3] Warren, 74, 75.

[4] Warren, 59.

[5] Warren, 76-77.

[6] Mt 18:24.

[7] Mt 18:25.

[8] Lewis R. Donelson. “Proper 19 (Sunday between September 11 and September 17 inclusive) – Matthew 18:21-35, Exegetical Perspective” in Feasting on the Word: Preaching the Revised Common Lectionary – Year A, vol. 4. (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2011), 71.

[9] Mt 18:28-30.

[10] Mt 18:34.

[11] Nathan Jennings. “Matthew 18:25-35, Homiletical Perspective” in Feasting on the Gospels – Matthew, vol. 2. (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2013), 103.

[12] Warren, 79.

[13] Matthew Richard Schlimm. 70 Hebrew Words Every Christian Should Know. (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press), 2018.

[14] Schlimm, 120.

[15] Mt 18:21-22.

[16] Warren, 86.

Sunday’s sermon: Eating Leftovers: Humble and Holy Food


Text used – Matthew 26:17-30 (read in the midst of the sermon)


  • Confession time, y’all. Many of you know that I love to cook. I love to try new recipes and new flavors (within reason … I mean, I do have some rather picky young eaters at home). I love to make food for people – something yummy that fills them up and leaves them feeling happy and content. But … I do not like leftovers. Never have. Leftovers are just not my jam.
    • A couple exceptions: certain hot dishes/soups/one-pot concoctions that are better the next day; cold pizza (always a classic!); my mom’s soy chicken recipe (which is just as good cold the next day as it is the minute it comes out of the oven)
    • Fortunately for me → husband who will happily consume whatever leftovers are in the fridge if it means he doesn’t have to buy lunch the next day (or even the whole next week!)
    • Is there anything inherently wrong with the leftovers? Of course not. They’re still filling. They’re still just as nutritious as they were the night before. They’re still tasty. So what gives? What’s my leftover hang-up?
      • Clearly not alone (Washington Post article from 2017)[1]
        • Americans throw away 27 million tons of food every year → costs economy $144 billion due to the strain in puts on landfills, greenhouse gas emissions, etc.
        • Abandoned leftovers = the single largest source of edible food waste in the country → nearly a quarter of what we throw out is prepared food and leftovers
        • Average person wastes 3.5 lbs. of food per week
      • Speaks volumes in terms of greater issue of food justice, food security, and our relationship with food as a society → broken and strained relationship at best
    • Throughout the summer, we’ve been working our way through Tish Harrison Warren’s Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices for Everyday Life[2], and this week’s chapter – chapter 5 – is all about leftovers and nourishment.
      • Title: Eating Leftovers: Word, Sacrament, and Overlooked Nourishment[3]
      • Warren introduces the heart of the issue right at the beginning of the chapter: Food has so much to teach us about nourishment, and as a culture we struggle with what it means to be not simply fed, but profoundly and holistically nourished.[4] → A couple of weeks ago, we talked about how rooted our Christian faith is in the experience of having a physical body – the physical motions of worship, the ways we use our bodies and our senses to experience different elements of our faith. And we talked about how one of those main elements is, in fact, a meal. Communion. The Lord’s Supper. Gathering around a table for physical nourishment. For food. So in the context of our faith, in the context of our worship, what does it mean, not just to be fed – perfunctorily munching a little bit of bread and downing a little sip of wine or juice before moving on – but being truly nourished in body, mind, and soul through this humble and holy food?
  • First place to start with this discussion could only be Scripture – Matthew’s account of Jesus’ Last Supper with his disciples → Friends, listen for the word of God: On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Where do you want us to prepare for you to eat the Passover meal?” He replied, “Go into the city, to a certain man, and say, ‘The teacher says, My time is near. I’m going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house. ‘” The disciples did just as Jesus instructed them. They prepared the Passover. That evening he took his place at the table with the twelve disciples. As they were eating he said, “I assure you that one of you will betray me.” Deeply saddened, each one said to him, “I’m not the one, am I, Lord?” He replied, “The one who will betray me is the one who dips his hand with me into this bowl. The Human One goes to his death just as it is written about him. But how terrible it is for that person who betrays the Human One! It would have been better for him if he had never been born.” Now Judas, who would betray him, replied, “It’s not me, is it, Rabbi?” Jesus answered, “You said it.” While they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take and eat. This is my body.” He took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from this, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many so that their sins may be forgiven. I tell you, I won’t drink wine again until that day when I drink it in a new way with you in my Father’s kingdom.” Then, after singing songs of praise, they went to the Mount of Olives. → Now, there’s a lot that we could unpack in that passage – more than we can tackle in one single sermon, that’s for sure. But with the theme of nourishment of body and soul in mind, there are a few things I want to us to dig a little deeper on within this text.
    • Particular word that’s crucial in this whole encounter – small, simple word that’s easily overlooks: gave – text: Jesus took bread, broke it, and gave it to the disciples … He took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them.[5]
      • Gr. “gave” = connotations of sacrifice, of yielding, of entrusting → This is giving with deliberate and sincere intent. Jesus didn’t just toss a piece of bread down the table. He didn’t slide an individual glass of wine down the table to each of the disciples in turn like some early Palestinian bartender. He gave to them together – sacrificed of himself, entrusted his love and his heart and his own devotion, yielded grace in the simple, humble form of wine and bread.
    • Meal itself is vitally important here, too – not some flashy, lavish, extravagant spread but simple bread and wine, the elements of every meal and every day
      • Warren: Of all the things he could’ve chosen to be done “in remembrance” of him, Jesus chose a meal. … He picks the most ordinary of acts, eating, through which to be present to his people. He says that the bread is his body and the wine is his blood. He chooses the unremarkable and plain, average and abundance, wine and bread.[6]
        • Simple food
        • Humble food
        • Normal food
        • Food that can be found in varied and beautiful forms in every culture around the world
      • This is a really important point especially right now. Right now … when we do not get to worship together in person. Right now … when we are missing being present in community, present in this place, present at this table together. Right now … when we have been so isolated and socially distant for what feel like so long, too long. And yet in this simple meal and the way that he shares it with the disciples, Jesus makes it clear that community in him – community in Christ – is a community gathered however we can, wherever we can, with whatever elements are a part of our everyday lives. That’s why I love the way we do communion now. It is literally a common feast – the feast of your homes and your lives all gathered in one sacred moment.
        • Warren (startlingly prophetic): If all the cathedrals on earth were gone, all the most glorious art were lost, and all of the world’s most valuable treasures were thrown out, Christians would still meet for worship around the Scriptures and the Eucharist. To have church, all we need is Word and sacrament. … The Word of God and the meal of God’s people are intended to point to and make manifest the presence of Christ, who is both the Word and the bread.[7]
  • Two other really crucial things to notice in our Scripture
    • One: this meal could not take place without community → Without the disciples, this meal would not be. Without the dynamics and the conflicts, the camaraderie and the inside jokes, without the particular gifts and imperfections, without the competition and the chaos of those 12 other people – even Judas, whose painful choice to betray is only moments away – this meal would be nothing. It was born of community, and we celebrate it only and always in community.
      • Warren: The Eucharist is a profoundly communal meal that reorients us from people who are merely individualistic consumers into people who are, together, capable of imagining Christ in the world.[8] → The meal changes us, and the company and community we participate in during the meal changes us.
        • Meal that is meant to be shared
        • Meal that is meant to bring everyone to the table – first verse from the hymn for today: For everyone born, a place at the table / For everyone born, clean water and bread / A shelter, a space, a safe place for growing / For everyone born, a star overhead[9]
    • Other critical thing to notice about this meal = it’s a never-ending meal – text (Jesus to the disciples): I tell you, I won’t drink wine again until that day when I drink it in a new way with you in my Father’s kingdom.[10] → Jesus is promising to the disciples that this meal will last. That this meal will continue. That there is more community … more nourishment … more giving and receiving to be had. This is a promise both of the feast that is being celebrated right now and the feast that is to come. From now until forever, Jesus will be with you. From now until forever, God will provide for you. From now until forever, there will be a place for you … a welcome for you.
      • Warren: In this alternative economy of the true bread of life, we are turned inside out so that we are no longer people marked by scarcity, jockeying for our own good, but are new people, truly nourished, and therefore able to extend nourishment to others. The economy of the Eucharist is true abundance. There is enough for me, not in spite of others, but because we receive Christ together as a community.[11] Now, I don’t know about you, but those are my kind of leftovers. Alleluia! Amen.

[1] Caitlin Dewey. “Why Americans have stopped eating leftovers” from The Washington Post, Posted Oct. 31, 2017, accessed July 9, 2020.

[2] Tish Harrison Warren. Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press), 2016.

[3] Warren, 61.

[4] Warren, 62.

[5] Mt 26:26, 27 (emphasis added).

[6] Warren, 63.

[7] Warren, 64.

[8] Warren, 71.

[9] Shirley Erena Murray. “For Everyone Born” in Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal. (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2013), #769.

[10] Mt 26:29 (emphasis added).

[11] Warren, 73.

Sunday’s sermon: Losing Keys: Flawed but Still Following

lost keys

Text used – 1 John 1:5-2:6


  • So this summer, we’ve been working out way through Tish Harrison Warren’s Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices for Everyday Life[1], and as we get set to tackle chap. 4 this morning – “Losing Keys: Confession and the Truth About Ourselves.” So to kick this chapter off, I want to read you a list that Warren lays out at the beginning of this chapter. It’s called “Stages of Searching for Lost Objects.” Let’s just see if any of this sounds familiar, shall we?
    • [READ “Stages of Searching for Lost Objects”[2]]
    • Well, does that sound like something you’ve ever experienced? Maybe it’s not your keys. Maybe it’s your glasses. Maybe it’s your wallet or your checkbook. Maybe it’s some essential paperwork for your job or your kids’ school. Or you watch. Or a piece of jewelry. Or, God forbid, your cell phone! Our list of Potential Lost Things could go on and on.
      • Warren calls this frantic cycle of searching “the apocalypse” in the most exact and authentic sense of the word: Apocalypse literally means an unveiling or uncovering. In my anger, grumbling, self-berating, cursing, doubt, and despair, I glimpsed, for a few minutes, how tightly I cling to control and how little control I actually have. And in the absence of control, feeling stuck and stressed, those parts of me that I prefer to keep hidden were momentarily unveiled.[3] → It is in these apocalypse moments of our days – these moments that, for better or worse, truly unveil who we are at our most frazzled, most frustrated, and most vulnerable – that we are reminded of our less-than-perfect nature as human beings. It is in these moments that we are reminded that, no matter how much comfort we find in the delusion, we are, in fact, not in control. We are, in fact, not It is in these moments that we are reminded exactly why and how and how often we are in need of God’s benevolence: God’s forgiveness, God’s mercy, and God’s grace.
  • As both the books title – Liturgy of the Ordinary – and the chapter title – “Losing Keys: Confession and the Truth About Ourselves” – suggests, Warren comes at this recognition of our imperfections and our need for forgiveness from a liturgical standpoint: confession. → 3 facets of confession … all of which we also find in our Scripture reading for this morning from 1 John
    • Brief context for our Scripture reading this morning[4]
      • 1, 2, 3 John all authored by anonymous author → “the elder” (named in the openings of 2 and 3 John)
        • Unlikely that this John is at all related to the apostle John
        • Some scholars believe writer of these letters could have been the same person that wrote the gospel of John → no consensus on this
      • Uncertain dating
      • Uncertain community to which these letters were written
      • Nevertheless, the importance of 1, 2, and 3 John to our understanding of our faith is undeniable. These letters address essential topics like the nature of God, the personhood and divinity of Jesus Christ, and what it means to be a part of the Christian community.
    • Back to our theme for this morning – (Warren) 1st facet of confession = purpose for confession → our brokenness
      • Warren lays it out pretty starkly: When the day is lovely and sunny and everything is going according to plan, I can look like a pretty good person. But little things gone wrong and interrupted plans reveal who I really am; my cracks show and I see that I am profoundly in need of grace. But here’s the thing: pretty good people do not need Jesus. He came for the lost. He came for the broken. In his love for us he came to usher us into fondness and wholeness.[5]
      • Hear this echoed in our Scripture reading for this morning: This is the message that we have heard from him and announce to you: “God is light and there is no darkness in him at all.” If we claim, “We have fellowship with him,” and live in the darkness, we are lying and do not act truthfully. … If we claim, “We don’t have any sin,” we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. … If we claim, “We have never sinned,” we make him a liar and his word is not in us. … The one who claims, “I know him,” while not keeping his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in this person.[6] → With these words, the writer of John – the elder – makes it clear that there are times when we make mistakes. There are times when we don’t think we need God. There are times when we proclaim God with our lips but neglect to do so with our hands and our hearts.
        • Sometimes it’s something we’re intentionally trying to keep from God – something that we know is wrong, some sin that we think is too entwined with our days and our lives to feel like something we can give up
        • Sometimes it’s the small things, the things we think won’t matter – Warren points out that nothing is too small or too unnoticeable for God: When suffering is sharp and profound, I expect and believe that God will meet me in its midst. But in the struggles of my average day I somehow feel I have a right to be annoyed. The indignations and irritations of the modern world feel authentic and understandable. → Oh, how we like to feel justified in our frustrations and brokenness, righteous in our anger and irritation. But Scripture makes it clear that proclaiming God with our lips must line up with proclaiming God with our actions and our hearts as well … and when that doesn’t happen, we find ourselves broken and in need of confession.
    • Leads us to 2nd facet of confession = attitude of confession → repentance
      • Ps 51 (passage that we read during our Ash Wednesday service which ushers us into the season of Lent every year) = ancient Hebrew hymn of repentance: Because I know my wrongdoings, my sin is always right in front of me. I’ve sinned against you – you alone. I’ve committed evil in your sight. That’s why you are justified when you render your verdict, completely correct when you issue your judgment. … A broken spirit is my sacrifice, God. You won’t despite a heart, God that is broken and crushed.[7]
      • This morning’s NT Scripture passage – the 2nd half of each of the phrases we just read about confession: If we claim, “We do not have fellowship with him,” and live in the darkness, we are lying and do not act truthfully. But if we live in the light in the same way as he is in the light, we have fellowship with each other … If we claim, “We don’t have any sin,” we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just … The one who claims to remain in him out to live in the same way as he lived.[8]
      • Warren connects this attitude of repentance with the rhythms of our day-to-day: It’s not enough to merely want to be more content or to tell myself to cheer up. I need to cultivate the practice of meeting Christ in these small moments of grief, frustration, and anger, of encountering Christ’s death and resurrection – the big story of brokenness and redemption – in a small, gray, stir-crazy Tuesday morning. … Repentance and faith are the constant, daily rhythms of the Christian life, our breathing out and breathing in. … Repentance is not usually a moment wrought in high drama. It is the steady drumbeat of life in Christ and, therefore, a day in Christ.[9] → If we cannot come before Christ not only recognizing our broken places but seeking to change what broke those places in the first place – our pride, our aggression, our attitude, our judgment, our temper, our sin – then we are not coming to be changed but just to perform lip service. We are not coming with a contrite heart but a perfunctory one. We are not coming seeking true forgiveness but only a whitewashing of our sins so we can turn around and do them all over again.
        • Sort of like when you’re trying to get kids to apologize to each other when they don’t want to: “Say you’re sorry.” *heavy sign … eye roll … sarcastic tone* “Sor-ry.
    • Attitude of true repentance ushers in 3rd facet of confession = fruition of confession → forgiveness/God’s grace
      • Scripture for this morning: If we claim, “We have fellowship with him,” and live in the darkness, we are lying and do not act truthfully. But if we live in the light in the same way as he is in the light, we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from every sin. If we claim, “We don’t have any sin,” we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from everything we’ve done wrong. … My little children, I’m writing these things to you so that you don’t sin. But if you do sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one. He is God’s way of dealing with our sins, not only ours but the sins of the whole world. … The love of God is truly perfected in whoever keeps his word. This is how we know we are in him.[10]
      • Warren: In these small moments that reveal my lostness and brokenness, I need to develop the habit of admitting the truth of who I am – not running to justify myself or minimize my sin. And yet, in my brokenness and lostness, I also need to form the habit of letting God love me, trusting again in [God’s] mercy, and receiving again [God’s] words of forgiveness and absolution over me. … Our failures or successes in the Christian life are not what define us or determine our worth before God our God’s people. Instead, we are defined by Christ’s life and work on our behalf.[11] → In those moments of brokenness – the big ones that shatter us completely and the small ones that just chip away at our edges bit by bit – we are confronted with our need for forgiveness. And we can either fly off the handle and let that need define us – running around frantically and angrily searching in vain – or we can turn to God through Christ, confess our brokenness, repent, and let the life and love and grace of God in Jesus Christ define us. So what will you choose? Amen.

[1] Tish Harrison Warren. Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press), 2016.

[2] Warren, 51-52.

[3] Warren, 52.

[4] C. Clifton Black. “The First, Second, and Third Letters of John: Introduction, Commentary, and Reflections” in The New Interpreter’s Bible Commentary series, vol. 12. (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1998), 365-378.

[5] Warren, 54.

[6] 1 John 1:5-6, 8, 10; 2:4.

[7] Ps 51:3-4, 17.

[8] 1 John 1:6-7, 8-9; 2:6 (emphasis added).

[9] Warren, 56, 57.

[10] 1 John 1:6-9; 2:1-2, 5.

[11] Warren, 56, 57.