if you forgive

Thursday April 11th, John 20:  21 Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven."  As if they were not scared enough when Jesus snuck up on them; now it is getting real scary.  It was bad enough that Jesus came and stood among them behind the locked doors, now after showing his hands and feet he tells them that as the Father has sent him, now he is sending them.  Where he is sending them is out, on the other side of the locked doors that in their minds are locked for a very good reason.  Then they are given the task of forgiveness, forgiveness for wanting to stay behind the locked doors as well as forgiveness for wanting to get back at the ones outside those locked doors.  They are also called to bring the message of forgiveness to the ones they are hiding from.  In Lutheran circles this is called the office of the keys, when we forgive the sins of others they are forgiven, when we retain the sins of others, they are retained, and often enough, it is we who are doing the retaining. As scary as it sounds, it is our calling also.  We are called out behind our doors locked with the key of piety and bring the word of forgiveness, even for our enemies.  


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