God has forgiven, and God will forgive again. The psalmist recalls God’s past pardon and asks God to “restore us again,” to “show us your steadfast love.” God forgives but forgiveness requires a response of acceptance. When accepted, the gift of forgiveness leads to reconciliation, to peace.
In his book No Future without Forgiveness, Desmond Tutu offers the illustration of a person who sits in a dark, stuffy room with windows closed and curtains drawn. Outside the sun shines, and a fresh breeze blows. To allow the light to flood in and the air to flow, the person has to open the curtains and the window. Forgiveness leads to reconciliation when the person to whom it is offered responds to the confession and accepts the forgiveness.
God’s love and forgiveness, like light and air, are available, but we have to say yes to experience it. God speaks peace to those who turn their hearts to God. Where God’s steadfast love and our faithful obedience to that love meet, “righteousness and peace will kiss each other.”
Sin separates; intimacy is broken, but it can be restored. As we respond to God’s steadfast love by acknowledging our role in the brokenness (confession) and accepting God’s healing and transforming love, we find healing and wholeness, salvation and shalom.
We experience God’s restoration. But then by virtue of our human nature, we fail in our faithfulness to God and cry out with the psalmist, “Restore us again!” Our healing, wholeness, salvation, and shalom comes from right relationship with God.

Thank you, Lord, that “while we still were sinners Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). Your forgiveness invites our repentance and restoration to healing and wholeness, salvation and shalom. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Luke 11:1-13

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Lectionary Week
July 18–24, 2016
Scripture Overview

The Hosea passage implies that the rela- tionship between God and Israel is similar to a marriage that has been ruined by an unfaithful spouse. Yahweh has been scorned, and judgment is at hand. However, the prophet implants a reminder that Yahweh’s nal word is not destruction but redemption. Psalm 85 reveals a community of God’s people who are suspended between the “already” and the “not yet.” Colossians reminds the readers that no other force or personality may compete with Christ, for Christ and only Christ embodies “the whole fullness of deity.” Faith and action are one. Luke’s Gospel directs the disciples’ attention to their real needs, as well as reminding them of the only one who can ful ll those needs.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

• Read Hosea 1:2-10. Do you truly believe that nothing is beyond God’s redemptive love? How does that affect the way you live?
• Read Psalm 85. How do you respond to God’s forgiving, redemptive love? When have you experienced the healing and wholeness of that love?
• Read Colossians 2:6-19. How is your life rooted and estab- lished in Christ? What lls your life?
• Read Luke 11:1-13. How much do you trust God to provide for all you really need?

Respond by posting a prayer.

I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.” 

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