Forgiveness and Reconciliation.Reflective prayer journey. Based on Luke 15:11-31 and the Lord’s Prayer
How to use. • Print off and laminate all slides. • Place tables with a few chairs around them at various places in your meeting place. • Display together slides 3 & 4; 5 & 6; 7 & 8; 9 & 10; 11&12; 13&14; 15& 16; 17 & 18. • The stations can be travelled in any order but I suggest finishing with 17&18. • You may like to play music in the background. • Give ample time for people to sit and reflect.
People are unreasonable, illogical and self-centred. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies. Succeed anyway. If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you. Be honest and frank anyway. What you spend years building, someone may destroy overnight. Build anyway. If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today people may forget tomorrow. Do good anyway. Give the world the best you've got anyway. You see, in the final analysis, it's between you and God; it was never between you and them anyway. Mother Teresa of Calcutta
Has your experience of forgiving others been a struggle, a journey, a decision or what? Are there particular people or situations in your life, past and present, where God is calling you to extend forgiveness?
In the Lord’s Prayer we see a strong link between our forgiveness of others and God’s forgiveness of us. We cannot expect God to forgive us while we are unwilling to forgive others. Forgiveness is a vital ingredient in every community – without it community falls apart. Think of those against whom you hold a grudge or lack mercy. Name them and ask God to empower you as you seek to forgive them and wherever possible to be reconciled .
Sorrow for sin is necessary, but it should not involve endless self-preoccupation. You should dwell also on the glad remembrance of the loving kindness of God. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) Do you find it easy or more difficult to accept you have been forgiven? Ephesians 1:7&8 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace which he lavished upon us. RSV Christ sacrificed his life’s blood to set us free, which means that our sins are now forgiven. Christ did this because God was so kind to us. God has great wisdom and understanding CEV
Our courteous Lord does not want his servants to despair even if they fall frequently and grievously. Our falling does not stop his loving us. Mother Julian of Norwich (1373-1417)
‘ Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.’ The simple power of the fourth phrase of the Lord's Prayer is the knowledge that we can be forgiven for what we have thought, said and done. We all need forgiveness and reconciliation both with God and with each other, and in the Lord's Prayer we pray for this forgiveness each time we say it. Say the Lord’s Prayer in the quietness now.
The parable of the two sons makes clear the need for two kinds of reconciliation in our relationship with God. The younger brother represents the journey of the person who comes back to God after years of rebellion, wandering away and going his own way. The elder brother represents us all as we continue in the Christian life. There are moments in all of our journeys where we realize that, even though we are part of the family, we need to seek the Father's forgiveness. What do you want to ask God’s forgiveness for at this time?
Liz Lemon Swindle. The Hug
Almighty and most merciful Father, we have wandered and strayed from your ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. We have offended against your holy laws. We have left undone those things that we ought to have done; and we have done those things that we ought not to have done; and there is no health in us. But you, O Lord, have mercy upon us sinners. Spare those who confess their faults. Restore those who are penitent, according to your promises declared to mankind in Christ Jesus our Lord. And grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake, that we may live a disciplined, righteous and godly life, to the glory of your holy name. AMEN