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forgivenessIn Luke’s gospel (LK 11:1-4), when his disciples ask him to teach them how to pray, what we have come to know as The Lord’s Prayer appears in summary form. After an address of praise to God there are three short requests, all delivered in one sentence. They are: 1. Give us each day our daily bread; 2. forgive us our sins as we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us; 3. do not submit us to the final test. What is implied here, I think, though only spoken directly in the second clause, is our responsibility to participate in the coming of God’s reign by the way we live. In other words, God will do what God can do if we do what we can, and it seems that God’s part is numbers 1 and 3.

So how is it that we are able to ready ourselves for the fullness of God’s life in us? Perhaps the wisdom contained in the second petition is truly the answer. If we let go of whatever separates us from others by forgiving any debt that anyone owes us, there is nothing then standing in the way of unconditional love. Recognizing that ability to love then brings us squarely into the presence of God. One caveat: we mustn’t forget to forgive ourselves as we proceed to forgive others…