Sunday, August 21, 2016

Attending Church Can Keep You Healthy!

Homily by The Rev. Marcia McRae
St. Francis Episcopal Church, Goldsboro, NC; 14th Sunday after Pentecost, 21 Aug. 2016
Proper 16 Year C RCL: Jeremiah 1:4-10; Psalm 71:1–6; Hebrews 12:18–29; Luke 13:10–17
A 20-year medical study of 76,000 people shows the “possible benefit of going to church [is a] 33% chance of living longer” compared to those who never attended services.1
Published by the American Medical Association & discussed in the May 16th edition of The Washington Post, the article about the 20-year medical study says it shows the “possible benefit of going to church...compared to those who never attended services.”2

Notice the benefit of going to church that we see in our Gospel: suddenly the woman crippled for 18 years can stand straight! She stands & praises God.
Jesus initiates the interaction. By healing her, Jesus sets things right, sets one small thing in the world back to the way God intends it. She says “thank you” in a big way.
I know we remember to ask God for help. How often do we remember to thank God?
How many remember parents teaching you to say “Please” AND “Thank you”? How well did you/or how well do you do what your mother told you/or tells you to do?
Mark is a 10-year-old living in an Atlanta housing project. He does not do what his mother tells him – and that's a good thing! Mark's mom has told him not to dream.3
Mark's story is one Caroline Westerhoff shares in her book, Make All Things New: Stories of Healing, Reconciliation, & Peace.4
Mark is among the many children of different age levels with whom Ms. Westerhoff interacts. She goes to the after school program for children from the old, large housing project where Mark lives & then to a private church school.
At both places, she meets the young people in their age/grade levels & asks each group to draw pictures of what the world will look like when they grow up. The youngest children present the most positive expectations. The older the children the bleaker their visions, whether they are children of poverty or children of the affluent school.
With his positive expectations, Mark stands out in both groups.
Although his mother tells him not to, Mark dreams of a better world. Mark says: “(My mother) thinks it's useless. But I think we must dream about other ways of living. If we just refuse to fight & treat all people with love & forgive them when they hurt us, we will have peace.”5
These are real words from a real 10-year-old boy living in poverty in Atlanta. Yes, he is “only a boy,” as Jeremiah declares himself to be in our 1st lesson today. The difference is that Jeremiah is trying to refuse God's call6 & Mark is living God's call to change our bad habits – “to pluck up & to pull down” – so that we can “build & plant”.
How many of you see young people as the future of the Church? Why do we say young people are the future? Why do we not see young people ARE the Church now – like you & I are. We ALL are the Church.
Mark is 21st Century proof of what we read in Jeremiah: God calls people of all ages to do God's work. “God's word is a dynamic & vital force, not a static & symbolic figure...”7
The dynamic & vital force of God's word is something Mark understands. He says: “If I were a leader in the world, I would use all my wisdom & with God beside me, convince people to get rid of guns & bombs & stop war & have peace on earth.”8
"Mark's insistence on dreaming (has) opened him to God's revelation of truth. (He expresses) faith in...God whose word finally will prevail, even when it cannot be perceived in the brokenness of the present,” as Mrs. Westerhoff says. She goes on to say, & I paraphrase in parts: Too often we “forget or dismiss” the Holy Spirit’s in-breaking – this powerful influence on children & adults. The word of God proclaims that in spite of all the appearances of doom, there is hope – in God.”10
We hear the in-breaking of the Holy Spirit in the words of hope from young Mark, who keeps himself open to God.
How do you keep open to God's guidance?
Mark grasps what the writer of Hebrews says in our lesson today: “we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken”. How often do we forget this? How often do we forget we have the Holy Spirit to guide us? How readily do we forget that our young people have the Holy Spirit to guide them?
God calls Jeremiah to a special task. God calls us to special work: to BE the Body of Christ. Remember: the body has many parts – old cells & young cells.
Whether old or young, God calls us to BE Jesus' healing hands & confident voice. This can sound scary. Remember God promises: “Do not be afraid...I AM with you.”
God says this to Jeremiah & touches his mouth, putting God's own words into his mouth.
God touches our mouths, including the mouths of young people, at this Holy Table.

With God's grace, as the Body of Christ, we Children of God can do the work God gives us to do like Jeremiah, like young Mark.
Stay open to God's guidance.
Learn openness & trust in God's guidance from Mark, this child, who is “only a boy,”
living in poverty, living in hope.



Bibliography
The Book of Occasional Services 2003. New York: Church Publishing. 2004.
Harper’s Bible Commentary. Gen. Ed: James L. Mays. San Francisco: Harper & Row Publishers. 1988.
Holy Bible with the Apocrypha. New Revised Standard Version. New York: Oxford University Press. 1989.
Jewish Study Bible: Jewish Publication Society Tanakh Translation. New York: Oxford University Press. 2004.
New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha Expanded Edition. New York: Oxford University Press. 1973.
Westerhoff, Caroline A. Make All Things New: Stories of Healing, Reconciliation, & Peace. Harrisburg: Morehouse Publishing. 2006.
Zauzmer, Julie. “Another possible benefit of going to church: A 33 percent chance of living longer”. The Washington Post. May 16, 2016. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2016/05/16/another-possible-benefit-of-going-to-worship-services-a-33-percent-chance-of-living-longer/ Accessed: 20 Aug. 2016.


1 Zauzmer, Julie. “Another possible benefit of going to church: A 33 percent chance of living longer”. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2016/05/16/another-possible-benefit-of-going-to-worship-services-a-33-percent-chance-of-living-longer/
2 Ibid.
3 Westerhoff, Caroline A. Make All Things New: Stories of Healing, Reconciliation, & Peace. P. 102.
4 Ibid. Pp. 95-103.
5 Ibid.
6 Jewish Study Bible: Jewish Publication Society Tanakh Translation. P. 921.
7 New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha Expanded Edition. P. 908.
8 Ibid. Westerhoff. P. 102.
9 Ibid.

10 Ibid.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

How Do We Confront the Status Quo?

Homily by The Rev. Marcia McRae
St. Francis Episcopal Church, Goldsboro, NC; 13th Sunday after Pentecost, 14 Aug. 2016
Proper 15 Year C RCL: Isaiah 5:1–7, Psalm 80:1–2, 8–18, Hebrews 11:29–12:2; Luke 12:49–56
How many of you have taken or taught an online class? What was that like? [The idea intimidates me & lures me from my comfort zone. So I am thankful I have not experienced this....yet!]

How many of you have read The Wall Street Journal article about Georgia Tech's Jill Watson, one of 9 teaching assistants – or TAs – working with an online class of 300 graduate students?1 
Like the 8 other TAs, Jill helps answer some of the 10,000 routine questions they get during a semester, reminds students [some in other countries] of project due dates, & posts questions to stimulate online conversations.
Sometimes Jill responds to messages with “Yep!” or “We'd love to”.
At least one student wanted to nominate Jill as outstanding TA but didn't. Why? What surprised him to drop that idea?

He learned Jill is a computer programmed to answer routine questions. He & other graduate students in the artificial intelligence course thought they were getting answers from a human!
Today’s Gospel is like this surprise:
We don’t expect Jesus [who says “Blessed are the peacemakers”] to tell us he comes to bring division not peace! This jarring contradiction, spoken by the Prince of Peace, reminds us: Jesus is a realist, who confronts the status quo. Realities can be different from our expectations.
The Prince of Peace sees clearly. Jesus sees the possibilities AND the realities. The Prince of Peace does divide intimate relationships. As one Bible commentator says: today's Gospel “…is a frightening description of the diverse results of Jesus’ ministry…division, not peace will be the result;…families will be split.”2

With our technology, we are blessed with many ways to keep relationships going. When we can’t be physically in the same place, we can phone, text, post on Facebook & Skype to participate in events far away. [A seminary housemate Skyped on computer each evening to be with her husband & their 2 children in another state, including to celebrate their son's 3rd birthday.]
Beloved Brothers & Sisters, you are wise enough to know we can turn these blessings into curses. We can over-use them, let them withdraw us from personal relationship & face to face interaction.
This distorts their very purpose.
We hear distorted purpose in our scriptures from Isaiah, the Letter to the Hebrews & in Jesus' harsh language in our Gospel, telling us families will be divided, split into factions as we confront the status quo.
Sometimes we ourselves feel “split,” divided by our inner struggle for a deeper trust in God as we hold tightly to our comfort zone. We have to commit. AND we have to live with contradiction. We read this in our Gospel. We read this in Isaiah, who consistently preaches to “trust in God.”3
Today’s reading in Isaiah, which is called “a poem of rebuke,”4 God’s “frustrated love song,”5 tells us God sees the possibilities AND the realities.
We fall short of God's expectations
& God continues to love us!
As Christians, we embrace the contradiction of [as author Esther de Waal says in Living with Contradiction..., and I paraphrase in parts]
“...God who becomes a man;
a victor who rides on a donkey...;
a savior...executed as a common criminal;
...God who promises
'in losing my life I shall find it.'”6
Contradiction shakes our comfort zone. How broad is our comfort zone when we hear the lesson from Hebrews commend the faith of Rahab? – that foreign prostitute!7 Hebrews commends Rahab as an example of how to live by faith. You may recall Matthew’s Gospel says Rahab is Jesus’ ancestor!8
This foreigner, this prostitute is a member of our family! As God’s adopted children, as Jesus’ brothers & sisters, you & I have Rahab in our family lineage.

If a Rahab of today walks into this holy place to worship, if she comes to our Parish Supper or Christmas in the Forest what kind of welcome will we give her?
If her pimp walks into this holy place what kind of welcome will we give him?
Can we be like the priest & his wife I know who welcomed the pimp to their son Dave's funeral? Dave played guitar in a hard rock band. So when he dies young from a birth defect, all sorts & conditions of people come to his funeral along with the faithful members of the church where his father is rector.
Many who come don’t know the parish rules, don’t know the dress code. The pimp doesn’t know the time & arrives late. The only place to sit is the front row.
He walks down the center aisle [his clothes screaming his profession] and sits with the family, beside the priest’s wife.
This grieving mother is an heiress, a woman of refinement, a woman generous in hospitality, generous in sharing Jesus’ love & welcome. These grieving parents welcome this pimp as a friend of their dead son.
Can we do likewise?
Jesus calls us to live in lively imagination! It takes lively imagination to see a pimp as the beloved child of God that he is[God wants the pimp to be reconciled to God & be part of God's family just as Rahab the prostitute is part of God's family – our family.]
Jesus calls us to shake off the paralysis we have of staying with the comfortable status quo. Jesus does not bring peace for us at St. Francis to live comfortably with the way things are.
Jesus brings us division between doubt & faith9 – between fearful living with the way things are & bold action living in new ways into God’s vision for us.
When we see winds & know they bring rain from one direction & heat from another but fail to see the spiritual crisis around us10, we fail to live by faith.
Rahab the prostitute lives by faith & works for God’s vision not to keep her world the way it is so that she doesn’t have to change.
Jesus has to change the world on the hard wood of the cross. Jesus – the Son of God – is under stress! This baptism Jesus undergoes purifies God’s creation.
Jesus takes on this stress for you & me, for the pimp & the prostitute.
In this sanctuary we must remember the church as sanctuary, the place where people are safe, where we welcome strangers. That’s hospitality. That’s justice. That’s peace that divides us from people paralyzed by doubt so that we are people running by faith this race we run with Jesus.
Rahab & Dave & now also Dave’s parents are part of the great cloud of witnesses around us: the fans in a stadium cheering us to persevere as we run the race:11
Cheering us to keep the faith,
to persevere through dangers,
to press on &
not stop in the comfort of how things are.
Cheering us to strive for the justice God envisions:
a new creation,
a greater reality.
Cheering us to look out our big doors,
past our alarm system &
beyond this beautiful setting
our beautiful natural setting outside
to confront the status quo
on streets not far from us.

Please open your Prayer Book to page 833 and join me in praying #62. A Prayer attributed to St. Francis [our Patron Saint]:
Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.
Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Amen.



Bibliography
The Book of Common Prayer. New York: Church Publishing, Inc. 1986.
Brown, Raymond E. An Introduction to the New Testament. New York: Doubleday. 1997.
De Waal, Esther. Living with Contradiction: An Introduction to Benedictine Spirituality. Harrisburg: Morehouse Publishing. 1997.
Dios Habla Hoy: La Biblia. Nueva York: Sociedad Biblica Americana. 1983.
Harper’s Bible Commentary. Gen. Ed: James L. Mays. San Francisco: Harper & Row Publishers. 1988.
Harper’s Bible Dictionary. Gen. Ed: Paul J. Achtemeier. San Francisco: Harper & Row Publishers. 1985. p. 851
Higgs, Liz Curtis. Bad Girls of the Bible: and What We Can Learn from Them. Chapter 7. Colorado Springs: WaterBrook Press. 1999.
Holy Bible with the Apocrypha. New Revised Standard Version. New York: Oxford University Press. 1989.
Jewish Study Bible: Jewish Publication Society Tanakh Translation.New York: Oxford University Press. 2004.
Korn, Melissa. “There's a Reason the Teaching Assistant Seems Robotic”. The Wall Street Journal. May 7-8, 2016. Vol CCLXVII No. 107. New York. P. 1A, 8A.
New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha Expanded Edition. New York: Oxford University Press. 1973.
New Revised Standard Version with Apocrypha Holy Bible. New York: Oxford UniversityPress. 1977.
Poitier-Young, Anathea. Old Testaments Prophets class notes. The School of Theology, The University of the South Advanced Degrees Program. Summer 2010.

1 Korn, Melissa. “There's a Reason the Teaching Assistant Seems Robotic”. The Wall Street Journal. May 7-8, 2016.
Pp. 1A, 8A.
2 Brown, Raymond E. An Introduction to the New Testament. P. 247.
3 Note: Poitier-Young, Anathea. Old Testaments Prophets class notes. The School of Theology, The University of the South Advanced Degrees Program. Summer 2010.
4 Jewish Study Bible: Jewish Publication Society Tanakh Translation. New York: Oxford University Press. P. 792.
5 Ibid. Poitier-Young.
6 De Waal, Esther. Living with Contradiction: An Introduction to Benedictine Spirituality. P.24.
7 Ibid. Jewish Study Bible. P. 466.
8 Ibid.
9 Harper’s Bible Commentary. Gen. Ed.: James L. Mays. P. 1031.
10 New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha Expanded Edition. P. 1030.

11 Ibid. Harper’s Bible Commentary. P. 1270.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Consider Well the Mercies of the Lord

Homily by The Rev. Marcia McRae
St. Francis Episcopal Church, Goldsboro, NC; 11th Sunday after Pentecost, 31 July. 2016
Proper 13 Year C RCL: Hosea 11:1-11; Psalm 107:1-9, 43; Colossians 3:1-11; Luke 12:13-21
Once upon a time there were 2 grown children of God who had a cardboard box labeled “Can't part with junk.”. . . .
I thank God that my husband & I don’t still have that box of junk! It made several moves with us. It sat in one of our many storage spaces in our house. We had 4 walk-in closets stuffed full, 2 attics of stuff, & other storage areas stuffed with stuff. Feeling crowded some years ago, we spoke of renting a storage unit. We stunned ourselves into silence.
We started sorting, donating, throwing out, recycling. [This made your volunteer labors a LOT LESS as you helped us unload when we moved here this year!]
We did not consider tearing down the house to build it bigger like the man in our Gospel. I feel embarrassed at how closely we may have fit the mindset of the rich man in Jesus' parable.
I feel sad about the rich man. His greed is so self-focused. He ignores the possibility of sharing some of his crops with family, with neighbors.
Would you be gutsy enough to suggest that he give some to strangers or to God?
He wants to “relax, eat, drink, be merry”. With whom?
How much more satisfying it is to eat, drink & be merry with a house full of family & friends like we experience at our parish suppers.
How enriching for the soul, how merry for the spirit when we are generous to family, neighbors, God, & strangers. [I saw your generosity to strangers yesterday at the Soup Kitchen.]
This poor “rich man” is to be pitied. He is poor. He is sick in his soul. He is not rich toward God or anyone. Greed makes him poor in happiness, poor in relationships.
Like the man who tells Jesus to tell his brother to share with him, the rich man breaks relationships with family, friends & God. This is the kind of brokenness Hosea talks about & Paul enumerates in his list of sins, calling greed idolatry.
Greed & other sins separate us from God rather than our humanness separating us. As humans we are made in God's image. Sin distorts God’s image in us & makes our souls sick.
The rich man in Jesus' parable is sick: He's anemic in spirit. He has limited vision, tunnel vision. His perspective is far from God's. He's like another rich man I read about in Plato & a Platpus Walk into a Bar... by Thomas Cathcart & Daniel Klein.
This rich man knows he is dying & has a visit from an angel,1 & I paraphrase in parts:
He has worked very hard for his money & is really upset about having to leave it. He has started praying, asking to take some of his wealth with him. The angel appears & says he can't. He begs the angel to talk to God & ask if God will bend the rules. The angel goes, reappears, and – surprisingly – God has agreed to allow him to bring one suitcase. [The man doesn't argue & say, “Please, Sir, give me more!”] The man gets his biggest suitcase, fills it with pure gold bars & sets it beside his bed. [I imagine his hand tightly gripping the handle.]
He dies & arrives at the pearly gates with his suitcase. St. Peters says: “Whoa! You can't bring that in here!”
He says he has permission & asks St. Peter to verify this with God. Pete leaves, returns & says: “You're right. You are allowed one carry-on, but I'm supposed to check its contents here at the gate…”
St. Peter opens the suitcase to inspect the worldly things the rich man finds too precious to leave behind. He looks inside. He looks closer at all those bars of gold & exclaims:

You brought pavement!?”
When your streets are paved in gold, things look different. Things look different to this rich man. Like the rich man in Jesus' parable this rich man is sick, anemic in spirit. He has tunnel vision: his perspective is far from God's. He's rich but not rich toward God.
What does it look like to be rich toward God? I witnessed richness toward God as you worked yesterday at the Soup Kitchen, respecting the dignity of every person.
Richness toward God, is staying the course, “through the good & bad times...It's more than what you put in the offering plate...,”2 as The Hip Hop Prayer Book tells us.
Our scriptures today tell us how generous & loyal God is to us & how humans fail to be generous & loyal to each other & to God. Hosea tells us God won't give up on us as God did with Admah or Zeboiim, cities totally destroyed with their neighbors Sodom & Gomorrah.3  Hosea says: the “difference between God & humans...involves (God's) capacity for radical forgiving love.”4
As Children of God, you & I can grow our capacity for radical, forgiving love through the grace we have from Jesus. We have the indwelling Holy Spirit to guide us, to help us grow this capacity.
Think of these 5 aspects to nurture our capacity for radical, forgiving love: 1. Recognize the blessings we have from God & give thanks for our blessings.
2. Share these blessings.
3. Nurture your relationship with God & the Body of Christ.
4. Nourish your relationship through the sacraments.
5. Stay grounded in the scriptures & in the sacraments. 
God gives us the sacraments & the scriptures for our health – our spiritual & our physical health.
As our Psalm says:
Whoever is wise will ponder these things, &
consider well the mercies of the Lord.”


Bibliography
Cathcart, Thomas. Daniel Klein. Plato and a Platpus Walk into a Bar...:Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes. New York: Books. The Penguin Group. 2007.
Harper’s Bible Dictionary. General Ed.: Paul J. Achetemeier. San Francisco: Harper & Row Publishers. 1985.
The Hip Hop Prayer Book. Ed.-in-Chief: The Rev. Timothy Holder. New York: HipHopEMass.org. 2006.
Holy Bible with the Apocrypha. New Revised Standard Version. New York: Oxford University Press. 1989.
Jewish Study Bible: Jewish Publication Society TANAKH Translation. New York: Oxford University Press. 2004.
New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha. Eds.: Herbert G. May, Bruce M. Metzger. New York: Oxford University Press, Incorporated, 1977.
Poitier-Young, Anathea. Old Testaments Prophets class notes. The School of Theology, The University of the South Advanced Degrees Program. Summer 2010.


1 Cathcart, Thomas. Daniel Klein. Plato and a Platpus Walk into a Bar... Pp. 177-178.
2 The Hip Hop Prayer Book. Ed.-in-Chief: The Rev. Timothy Holder. P.123.
3 Jewish Study Bible. P. 1161.

4 Harper’s Bible Dictionary. P. 714

Sunday, July 24, 2016

You Are God's Beloved Child

Homily by The Rev. Marcia McRae
St. Francis Episcopal Church, Goldsboro, NC; 10th Sunday after Pentecost, 24 July 2016
Proper 12 Year C RCL: Hosea 1:2-10; Psalm 85; Colossians 2:6-15, (16-19); Luke 11:1-13

The Gardner's Prayer: Oh Lord, grant that my garden may have a little rain every day, say from about 3 o'clock in the morning until 5 A.M...Make it gentle & warm so that it can soak in. Grant that there may be plenty of dew & little wind, enough worms, no plant lice or snails, no mildew...And, that once-a-week thin liquid manure & guano may fall from Heaven! Amen”
What difference do you notice in the focus of the amusing Gardener's Prayer & the prayer Jesus teaches us in our Gospel?
I want to ask the gardener:
What about praying for the garden we have here at St. Francis Church? What about Stan's garden?
What about The Salvation Army's community garden created to build community1?

In the prayer Jesus teaches, he tells us about community, about relationship & concern for others. Intimate family relationship2 is at the heart of our scriptures today. God makes us for holy relationship with God & with each other.
You are God's beloved child.
The tension we hear in our scriptures is people staying true to God & people drifting away from a faithful relationship with God. Our scriptures share the element of hope: the hope of restoring right relationship,3 of living as God’s faithful people, as children of the living God.
Jesus emphasizes this close, holy, family relationship in the words he teaches us to pray. In Luke’s shorter version (& in Matthew’s version we pray each Sunday), Jesus tells us to talk to God like a beloved child, to call God “Daddy” / “Papa”.
The Aramaic word we translate as “Father” is less formal. Jesus tells the disciples to pray: “Abba,” the tender, endearing variation of the word “ab”4 that means “father.” Abba is “Papa5. We are to talk to God on this level of relationship.
This imagery is hard for some of us who have emotional & physical hurts from parents, from people who do give us a snake instead of a fish, a scorpion instead of an egg. You who have this hurt know the brokenness of human relationships. You know the kind of brokenness Hosea talks about.
Whether his story is literal or figurative,6 Hosea tells us about human failings between individuals & our failings in our relationship to God.
God makes Holy Relationship possible.
Paul tells the Colossians & us that God initiates this loving relationship; we respond. God makes you alive through Jesus. God forgives your sins, erases your record, nails it to the cross. Your job – our job – is to accept God’s forgiveness & let go of the past. Let go of our old perspective that trips us up & hinders our loving, holy relationship with God & with each other.
All sin. Each of us has sinned & has been sinned against. We say in our Psalm today: You have forgiven the iniquity of your people & blotted out all their sins...I will listen to what the LORD God is saying, for he is speaking peace to his faithful people…” God is speaking peace.
Know this: “Shalom”, the Hebrew word for “peace”, carries deeper meaning than simply absence of conflict. Shalom is a gift from God, as Harper's Bible Dictionary says7, & encompasses well-being & wholeness.
Notice the broader perspective Jesus gives about how to forgive. The Aramaic words of Jesus go beyond our words “forgive debts / sins / trespasses”. Jesus' words suggest an archer missing the mark,8 & these ideas “for a deeper letting go”:9
Loose the cords of mistakes binding us,
as we release the strands we hold of others' guilt.

Forgive our hidden past, the secret shames,
as we consistently forgive what others hide.

Compost our inner, stolen fruit
as we forgive others the spoils of their trespassing.”10

Jesus expresses deep levels of forgiveness that evoke returning something “to its original state.”11 Our original state is not that we are sinners. Our original state is the image of God.
God, the Holy Trinity, is Holy Community,
Holy Relationship.
God makes us for holy relationship with God
with each other.
Jesus tells us of this in his words about forgiveness that can imply “reciprocally absorb,” “reestablish slender ties”.12 
This is what Hosea demonstrates as he takes into his own life a wayward wife & lives the brokenness of his people. [You know Bible names carry meaning. Hosea means Salvation or Deliverance13.]
For us to forgive everyone indebted to us means sometimes we have to forgive again & again as we process the hurt so that we can let go the chords we hold tightly, binding that hurt to our hearts & our minds.
And we have to forgive ourselves. This can be hard.
If forgiveness is hard for you, what difference might it make at this part of the Lord’s Prayer to release the clinched grip we often use
in prayer & open your hands up to God? “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us."
It can be hard to remember what we ask God when we pray the Lord’s Prayer, saying the familiar words without thinking.

Jesus’ words in Aramaic resonate on many levels, as we read in this book, Prayers of the Cosmos by Neil Douglas-Klotz.  As I say more familiar words from Luke's Gospel, please respond with the words in italics in your bulletin insert: Father, hallowed be your name: Papa, “...In peace (your) Name resides...giving light to all.”14
Your kingdom come: Create your reign of unity now – through our fiery hearts & willing hands...”15
Give us each day our daily bread: Grant what we need each day in bread & insight...16
And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us: Loose the cords of mistakes binding us, as we release the strands we hold of others' guilt.”17
And do not bring us to the time of trial: Don't let surface things delude us, but free us from what holds us back...”18

Don't let surface things delude us, but free us from what holds us back...”19

...free us from what holds us back...”
Amen.

Bibliography
Douglas-Klotz, Neil. Prayers of the Cosmos: Reflections on the Original Meaning of Jesus's Words. New York: HarperCollins Publishers. 1990.
Handy Dictionary of the Bible. General Ed.: Merrill C. Tenney. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House. 1965.
Harper’s Bible Commentary. General Ed.: James. L. Mays. San Francisco: Harper & Row Publishers. 1988.
Harper’s Bible Dictionary. General Ed.: PaulJ. Achetemeier. San Francisco: Harper & Row Publishers. 1985.
Holy Bible with the Apocrypha. New Revised Standard Version. New York: Oxford University Press. 1989.
Jewish Study Bible: Jewish Publication Society TANAKH Translation. New York: Oxford University Press. 2004.
New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha. Eds.: Herbert G. May, Bruce M. Metzger. New York: Oxford University Press, Incorporated, 1977.
Poitier-Young, Anathea. Old Testaments Prophets class notes. The School of Theology, The University of the South Advanced Degrees Program. Summer 2010.
PrayAsYouGo. “Meditation for Thursday the 25th of July”. London: Jesuit Media Initiatives. http://pray-as-you-go.org/. Accessed: 25 July 2013.
Wise, Hilary. Barron's Arabic At a Glance. New York: Barron's Educational services, Inc. 1987.
Wortabet, John. Garvey Porter. Hippocrene Standard Dictionary: Arabic-English/English-Arabic. NewYork: The Unger Publishing Co. 1954.
Tarazi, Paul. “The Name of God: Abba.” Accessed: 27 July 2013. http://www.orthodoxresearchinstitute.org/articles/bible/tarazi_name_of_god.htm
Vick, Thomas. Goldsboro Daily News “Salvation Army “Community Garden: Where Goodness Grows”. http://goldsborodailynews.com/blog/2016/06/08/salvation-army-community-garden-goodness-grows/ Accessed: 23 July 2016.

2 Class notes. Dr. Anathea Poitier-Young's Old Testaments Prophets course. School of Theology. The University of the South. Summer 2010.
3 Note: Inspired by notes re Hosea's implications re restoration. Jewish Study Bible: Jewish Publication Society TANAKH Translation. P. 1143.
4 Wise, Hilary. Barron's Arabic At a Glance. P. 233.
5 Wortabet, John. Garvey Porter. Hippocrene Standard Dictionary: Arabic-English/English-Arabic. P. 104.
6 Jewish Study Bible. Pp. 1144-1145.
7 Harper’s Bible Dictionary. General Ed.: Pau lJ. Achetemeier. P. 766.
8 Note: Concept in workshop notes at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit, Conyers, GA. July 2011.
9 Douglas-Klotz, Neil. Prayers of the Cosmos: Reflections on the Original Meaning of Jesus's Words. Pp. 30-31. Note: I became familiar with this at a retreat on the Lord's Prayer at the Trappist Monastery of the Holy Spirit, Conyers, GA.
10 Ibid. P. 30.
11 Ibid. P. 31.
12 Ibid.
13 New Oxford Annotated Bible. P. 1088.
14 Ibid. Prayers of the Cosmos. P. 16.
15 Ibid. P. 19.
16 Ibid. P. 26.
17 Ibid. P. 30.
18 Ibid. P. 34.

19 Ibid.