The Rector Writes - March 2019

By the time you read this, it is a fairly safe bet that whatever else may in the news, Brexit will be continuing to hog the headlines.

As a consequence - and maybe I am not the only one - I find myself paying more attention then usual to non-Brexit related news.

And so it was that I would struck by a couple of recent news stories about two individuals that on the surface had little in common.

One concerned a 66 year-old Oscar-winning actor from Ballymena; the other a 19 year-old young pregnant woman from Bethnal Green.

In case you missed them, the first concerned whether Liam Neeson could be forgiven for 40 years ago intending racially based violence. The second concerns whether Shamima Begum could be forgiven for travelling to Syria aged 15 to join ISIS.

Of course, both are more complicated than that (real life always is), but the central question of forgiveness is at the heart of both of those.

And we don't need to look for it in the headlines. It is there in our every day life.

The person who treats you rudely; the friend that lets you down; the spouse that betrays you.

Should I forgive them? Could I forgive them?

Of course, the longer I think about the question, the more the question gets turned around: Could I be forgiven?

Let go of the rationalisations, the unconvincing excuses.

Could I somehow be forgiven and so get out from under the things that I have done, the ways I have let down and hurt others?

Could there be some way of knowing that, if I were to turn around, turn my back on those things, and head home, that I really will be welcomed with arms open wide and table weighted with celebration?

And if that were true what difference would that make to how I treat others?

What if Jesus spoke the incredible truth?

Wouldn't you need to know? Wouldn’t you want to come home to Him?

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