Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Dear CCR Family and Friends,

This Sunday we’ll be looking at one of the most audacious commands of God – Forgiveness Must Be Institutionalized (Leviticus 25:8-55).

Let me make this personal. I am a romantic idealist who when I meet reality struggle with cynicism. I love reading history to understand the present and find vision for the future. I’m fascinated by those historical figures who took bold and audacious actions. My biggest hero is Yahweh, God. Three thousand five hundred years ago, He commanded Israel to forgive on an institutional basis at least once per lifetime (Leviticus 25:8-55). It seems no nation ever had the courage to follow the command. I suspect humanity has suffered for generations because of our lack of courage.

We’ve journeyed for a month at CCR discussing the Sabbath. Religious rule keepers have probably not known what to think of our discussion. Sabbath living liberates us from man’s control.

Some of us who claim to follow Jesus miss the beauty of this Jewish tradition. Somehow, we think grace frees us from Sabbath. Instead, grace frees us from the ridiculous nature of rule keeping. Sabbath is for our good. Thus we should feel free to heal, rescue, and live with joy on our Sabbath (Matthew 12:1-13; Luke 13:10-17).

Two Sundays ago, Meg Guillebaud spoke to us about Sabbath keeping as a command to care for the environment (Exodus 23:10-11. Leviticus 25:1-7.)

Last Sunday, we applied the Sabbath in the areas of gender, economic, and national equity.

This Sunday, we’ll discuss the Jubilee Year. God commanded Israel that every 50 years the nation was to rest, all debts were to be forgiven, and economic prisoners set free. Our times have significantly changed since that command. However, I think we will find that the nature of humanity has not. I’ve even noticed the Rwandan history books I’m reading show remarkable similarity between Pre-Exilic Israel and Pre-Colonial Rwanda. Humanity even in our best efforts neglects justice and mercy. Sometimes our best attempts only create more problems. God commands that in such circumstances the only option is to completely wipe the slate clean.

I suspect each one of us has moments in life when we wish we could just start all over, go home to our extended family, rest, and celebrate. This Sunday at CCR we’ll see if an old command can still be applied. No nation in history ever had the courage to embrace this command. I feel honored to be able to preach this sermon on Audacious Forgiveness in Rwanda.

I hope to see you this Sunday,


P.S. If you would like to read notes from last Sunday’s sermon on rhythm and gender equity check out my blog at

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