Summary: the Church is calle to say ’grace’, reflecting God’s grace to us

"Waiting for Someone to Say Grace"

Matthew 18:21-35 Romans 14:1-10

(Matthew 18:21-35 NRSV) Then Peter came and said to him, "Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?" {22} Jesus said to him, "Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times. {23} "For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. {24} When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; {25} and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. {26} So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, ’Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ {27} And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. {28} But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, ’Pay what you owe.’ {29} Then his fellow slave fell down and pleaded with him, ’Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ {30} But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he would pay the debt. {31} When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. {32} Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ’You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. {33} Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’ {34} And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. {35} So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart."

(Romans 14:1-10 NRSV) Welcome those who are weak in faith, but not for the purpose of quarreling over opinions. {2} Some believe in eating anything, while the weak eat only vegetables. {3} Those who eat must not despise those who abstain, and those who abstain must not pass judgment on those who eat; for God has welcomed them. {4} Who are you to pass judgment on servants of another? It is before their own lord that they stand or fall. And they will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make them stand. {5} Some judge one day to be better than another, while others judge all days to be alike. Let all be fully convinced in their own minds. {6} Those who observe the day, observe it in honor of the Lord. Also those who eat, eat in honor of the Lord, since they give thanks to God; while those who abstain, abstain in honor of the Lord and give thanks to God. {7} We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. {8} If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. {9} For to this end Christ died and lived again, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living. {10} Why do you pass judgment on your brother or sister? Or you, why do you despise your brother or sister? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.

At my former church, the men got together for breakfast each month.

One Saturday when all the food was ready,

our chef called us to gather in the hallway for prayer.

So we closed our eyes, we bowed our heads and we waited.

We all stood there as we waited, and we waited.

Finally, after more silence and waiting, I looked up and asked,

"Bob, were you wanting me to say grace?"

It was kind of a funny moment as we all had just stood there,

waiting, waiting for someone to say grace.

But when you think about it, the truth is,

much of the world is standing around waiting,

waiting and hoping that someone will say grace,

that someone will show mercy and compassion;

and that rather than seeking revenge and retribution,

they will offer instead, forgiveness, mercy and pardon.

O how we, and all the world, long to hear grace spoken into our lives

To receive grace --- its a longing that all humanity shares.

Earnest Hemingway wrote about a scene of this longing for grace.

In Madrid, a father ran a little ad in the local paper one day,

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