Father, forgive them

Anyone who has spent any amount of time at Holy Trinity will no doubt be aware of my affection for the words of Christ from the cross, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. I seem to find a place for these words in just about every sermon. I often wonder if the folks who hear me week in and week out have concluded that I really only have one message to preach?! I have received so much goodness from this simple text of scripture that it is difficult not to return to its healing waters regularly. It is here at this place that I hear the heart of God, not simply for some ambiguous “world”, but for the very specific people who were applying state sanctioned torture to him and the unfortunate souls hanging with him. And because I can hear the words of forgiveness for them, why should I not hear it for myself and those around me no matter how far from God we think ourselves to be? This is a wonderful comfort and a faithful way of contemplating the compassion of God.

As I was meditating on these beautiful words the other day, with specific consideration for the contention, confusion, and chaos of our present national moment, I wondered why we don’t acknowledge the truth of this declaration more often? Why doesn’t the declaration of forgiveness that Jesus made on the cross to those who “don’t know what they are doing” become our supplication? Why don’t we turn his words around so that they become our prayer?

If you haven’t ever done this, I think you should give it a try. And so I commend to you this prayer as a way to enter into the kind of confession that acknowledges the truth of Jesus’ words, which ultimately reveal the truth about ourselves.

Father, forgive us, for we know not what we do. Amen.

This post was originally published at holytrinitybroomfield.com on Oct. 7, 2020.

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Chris serves as rector of Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Broomfield, Colo., and is my best friend. His many and varied interests include the theology of Friedrich Schleiermacher, his 4,000-volume personal library and news shows from different political perspectives. He also firmly supports the claim of Benjamin Franklin that “beer is proof that God loves us.”

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