All Saints North Shore welcomes you -- no matter who you are -- to share our joy and passion for serving God and one another. We welcome you because God lives here. We are an Episcopal Church on the North Shore located directly across from the Danvers Town Hall, on the corner of Holten and Cherry Streets, in Danvers, MA 01923.
Rector: the Rev. Marya DeCarlen
Tel. 978-774-1150 Web: allsaintsepiscopalnorthshore.org / Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
By Leslie Blake
“Father forgive them……..”
Powerful words spoken by our dearest Lord Jesus as he was dying while upon the cross.
How…? How could He in the midst of pain & anguish, feeling the sting of mockery & abandonment, struggling to breathe & remain conscious……..how could He still request forgiveness for the very ones who did this to him?
The word forgive by definition is a “verb,” something that requires an action to complete; for something that does not require actual physical labor, it is oftentimes one of the hardest tasks to accomplish.
How often do we think about the word forgive? Really, truly think about it?
We say it every time we recite the Lord’s Prayer: “And forgive us our trespasses…..” We are asking God to forgive us on a daily basis. In fact, we probably expect it. But do we follow through on the next line? “…As we forgive those who trespass against us.” That’s much more difficult.
It’s easy to use the word loosely as we accidentally bump into somebody or are late for a lunch date, “Oh, please forgive me.” It’s easy to forgive the five-year-old who fibs about picking up his toys or takes an extra cookie; or the teenager who misses curfew. We are forgiven and we forgive because they are small, innocent violations, and chances are we are loved by or love the “offender.”
But what about the loved one who is caught cheating, or the addict who steals from you to get money for their next fix? Do we forgive? Do we forget? What about news reports of the child or animal abuser; the gunman storming into a school, etc.? How do we find forgiveness in our hearts them? How? And remember, somebody knows and loves these offenders! How do they forgive?!? How???
Father, forgive them ...
He does because they are his children just as we are. We are not judge & jury come the last day. It is not our place to decide who should be worthy of forgiveness and who should not.
“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” -- C.S. Lewis
With the grace and mercy that Jesus showed us by dying for us, we are all able to start new.
Do not be confused with forgiving and forgetting -- they are two very distinctive actions. Forgiveness comes from the heart. It is okay not to forget; for our very safety it could be crucial not to forget. But it is very different than forgiving. We are not saying it is OK, whatever the transgression was; but we are letting go of it, and releasing its hold on us, and giving it to God. When you forgive, ask yourself, are you truly doing it for the sake of the act itself, to make amends between you, God, and the offender? Or are you simply doing it to ease your own conscience?
Google the word “forgiveness quotes” and a plethora of sites pop up ranging from Inspirational, Religious, Prayers, Quotes, Pinterest ideas, Definitions, etc. The Bible mentions it over and over; Jesus talked about it right up to his dying breath. It makes one pause and think that it’s pretty important. We cannot just be on the receiving end. We must learn not only to ask for forgiveness; we must learn to forgive ourselves; and we must forgive others.
Personally, I have been struggling with letting go of something for years, and one single line from the movie The Shack finally made me see things from a different perspective. I still have a little way to go in my personal journey, but this one simple movie helped me see what I had been seeking for a very long time. There are no accidents in God’s plan. It is good, and it is right!
Father forgive them…
Father forgive us…
Father heal my heart...
As we approach the holiest of weeks, remember the words of Jesus during his darkest moments. Every Easter morning, my heart sings with joy and my eyes are filled with tears – not only because of the miracle that is Easter, but because of the eternal promise that was made when Jesus asked God to forgive me.
I have always struggled with why God allows bad things to happen: crippling disease, suffering, grief, etc. I still do. I probably always will, to some extent. I am deeply suspicious of anyone who tells me -- in books or in person -- that they have "THE answer" to what I think is an eternal mystery. This is one of those things that maybe Paul was speaking about when he said "we now know only in part...." The mind of God and all. A bit bigger than ours.
But there are bits of suffering and darkness -my own or others' -- that sometimes fall into my hands like bread and feed me in ways I never could imagine. That's what I want to focus on now.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about "the four-sentence challenge" to tell our stories of being touched by God. A Sunday before writing, I had given this challenge to a group that I was working with in another church. It was a tight time-frame: 45 minutes to help a group of 20 t…
"Once Was Blind; now I see!" ... What's Your Story?
By Bob Stains "Once I was
blind; now I see!"So said
"the man born blind" in John 9. It's a great story. A beggar blind
from birth who, with his parents, is suspected of having committed some sin
that caused his blindness.
Jesus has a different idea about the man. He sees him as he
could be -- whole -- and He heals him. He says he's come to bring light to the
world. Spits on the ground, makes mud, puts it on the man's eyes and tells him
to wash it off in the Pool of Siloam. When he does, he can see for the first
time: the light flows through him.
Can you imagine how he felt? Can you see him shouting and
leaping; laughing with tears at seeing his parents for the first time; running
about and inspecting every last thing for color, shape, texture and movement? See his parents fall on their knees, weeping
with gratitude, hugging Jesus' legs? And there's Jesus smiling, happy with the