Tag Archives: Matthew 18

September 14, 2014 (Year A Proper 19) Celtic Meditation

Matthew 18:21-35

The last few weeks we have had a series of lessons from Jesus about community life:  about binding and loosing.  Being loosed to love and serve and also being bound by our knowledge of who Jesus is.  Today we heard more about binding and loosing – about stifling life by binding through a lack of forgiveness and about the potential of living a fuller life by loosing through forgiveness.

At the beginning his metaphor about the kingdom of heaven, Jesus tells us about a man who was forgiven much — the amount of debt that he was forgiven was more than he could ever earn.  By being forgiven by the one whom he owed, the man was given not only his life back, but the life of his family.  Think of a time when you were in desperate need of forgiveness and received it.  How did this forgiveness affect your relationship with the one who forgave you?

In the metaphor, the man who had been loosed from debt did not live a life of forgiveness.  While he had been forgiven so much, he was not willing to forgive someone who owes him a relatively small amount.  He bound his fellow servant, his brother, by not forgiving the debt. How, as church, are we not living the reality of the kingdom of heaven life – who are we, as a people who know what it means to be forgiven, binding and stifling?

In the metaphor, the other people go to the king, the forgiving lord, and explain that their fellow servant is not living according to the lord’s way of being in right relationship.  These other servants are living according to the way Jesus described last week – they are actively seeking peace within community.  As church, how can we better live lives that are defined by the mercy that God has already shown us?

September 7, 2014 (Year A Proper 18) Celtic Meditation

Matthew 18:15-20

In this passage, we hear about Jesus’ distinctive view of what the church should look like and how we should live together.   We all face temptations to sin – to not live lives focused on loving God and loving each other well.   Because of our desire to go our own way rather than the way of peace and love, Jesus is concerned lest our sins cause us to no longer experience church as life-sustaining community.   The church is called to be a place of shalom – of peace that passes all understanding; of wholeness and completeness; of cooperation, trust, and respect among us.  Jesus calls us to be reconciled to one another so that no one is lost.

Jesus gives us instructions in this reading on how to love one another well in order to be reconciled.  As church, what sins among our gathered community do we need to confess so that we can work together toward reconciliation?

We heard week before last about binding and loosing; Jesus’ words in this reading bring additional clarity to this idea of binding and loosing within the context of what it means to be church.  What do we, as church, need to bind and loose on earth and in heaven in order for reconciliation to be made real among us?

Jesus said that where two or three are gathered in his name, he will be among them.  What do we, as church, need to be doing in order to more fully live into this reality – that Jesus is here with us when we are gathered in his name?