Worship service – February 13, 2022 – “Can We Forgive?” Part 3

We are in a 4-part sermon series on “Can We Forgive?”.  In Christianity, we are called to forgive – yet it can be so difficult, and it can take years to accomplish.  This series will look at the reasons we forgive, the steps of forgiveness, the myths surrounding forgiveness, and the benefits of forgiveness.  In Part 3, we learn three of the four steps of forgiveness.

Our services are being held with in-person attendance at 10 a.m. Sunday morning.  Most services are video-recorded, but unfortunately today’s service is not available on video.  Please see below for some of the components of the service.

Prelude:  “Drop-kick me Jesus, Through the Goal-Posts of Life” – In recognition of this being Superbowl Sunday, this song was provided by Steve Cole as an excerpt from his bluegrass band’s food pantry fund-raiser concert Feb. 12, 2022, at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Saratoga.  (The entire event video is below, bookmarked at this song. Enjoy the video when you have time, and contribute to your local food pantry as you are able!)

Opening hymn:  “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee” – United Methodist Hymnal #89, verses 1 and 3

Joyful, joyful, we adore thee, God of glory, Lord of love;
hearts unfold like flowers before thee, opening to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness; drive the dark of doubt away.
Giver of immortal gladness, fill us with the light of day!


Thou art giving and forgiving, ever blessing, ever blest,
wellspring of the joy of living, ocean depth of happy rest!
Thou our Father, Christ our brother, all who live in love are thin;
teach us how to love each other, lift us to the joy divine.


Call to Worship

Leader: God, you know that we have sinned. You know that we have hurt each other, been unkind and thought only of ourselves.
People: You have given us such grace and mercy; help us to extend the same to our brothers and sisters.
Leader: Free us from holding grudges, from gossip and from passing judgment. Let us never pour shame upon another, but instead love and peace.
People: Help us walk with each other toward forgiveness and restoration.
Leader: Thank you for the beauty you will bring to our relationships because we have sought your healing.
People: We are yours, gracious God. Amen

Our Scripture Reading is from Matthew 18:21-35.  Jesus is not inviting us to document and count the number of times we forgive another person, but to forgive without bound.  In Jesus’s day, the numbers “seventy-seven” and “ten thousand” represented a very large number, like the term “zillion” that we use today.  God sees the amount of mercy and forgiveness we show others, and responds in kind.

Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?”  Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.

“For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves.  When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him;  and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made.  So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt.  But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, ‘Pay what you owe.’ Then his fellow slave fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’  But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he would pay the debt.  When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me.  Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt.  So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is the one true Church whose faith we support with our prayers, our presence, our giving, our witness and our service.
Our offering is given to the mission and ministry of MHUMC.  Remember our gifts come from us, as the people of God, for the work of God, to the Glory of God in the world.

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I invite you to give generously, as we worship God through sharing our gifts, tithes, and offerings.

Thanksgiving Prayer

God of all creation, we offer our gifts in gratitude for all that we have been given. Use our gifts and our lives with mercy and grace, that through us – others might see you. Amen.

Rev. Dr. Linda Holbrook
Rev. Dr. Linda Holbrook

The message today from Rev. Dr. Linda Holbrook is “Can We Forgive?” Part 3.

Summary of today’s message:  When someone has wronged us, it’s up to us to forgive regardless of whether they apologize, so that we can move on.  Forgiving doesn’t change the past, it enables us to live in the present and be open to the future.  Today we look at the first 3 of 4 steps to forgiveness.

  1. Tell the story of what happened.  Even if we think we won’t be believed, or others tell us we shouldn’t be hurt, or we think we did something to prompt it.  Find a safe person in a safe place to tell your story.
  2. Acknowledge the hurt.  Identify the specific emotion (betrayal, fear, abandonment, etc.).  (See this emotion wheel for examples of names of feelings.)
  3. Grant forgiveness.  This  may take a long time!  It’s a gift from God.  Prayer for understanding is essential.
  4. Next week, the final step includes self-forgiveness.

You may view, print, or download the text here.

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Credits and copyrights

  • Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee” words by Henry Van Dyke, music by Ludwig van Beethoven, arr. by Edward Hodges. Public domain.  CCLI song #25321, CCLI License #2718708.
  • “Seek Ye First” words and music by Karen Lafferty. © 1972 CCCM Music (Admin. by Brentwood-Benson Music Publishing, Inc.); Universal Music – Brentwood Benson Publishing (Admin. by Brentwood-Benson Music Publishing, Inc.).  CCLI song #1352, CCLI License #2718708.
  • “The Lord’s Prayer” words from 9th cent. Latin, trans. by Omer Westendorf; music by Alexander R. Reinagle, harm. from Hymns Ancient and Modern. ©  1960 World Library Publications (Admin. by G.I.A. Publications, Inc.). CCLI song #6092014, CCLI License #2718708.
  • “Shout to the Lord” words and music by Darlene Zschech. © 1993 Wondrous Worship (Admin. by Music Services, Inc.). CCLI song #1406918, CCLI License #2718708.
  • “I’m Gonna Live So God Can Use Me” words, music African American spiritual. Public domain.
  • “Shalom to You” words by Elise S. Eslinger; music anonymous, harmony by  Carlton R. Young. © 1983 The United Methodist Publishing House (Admin. by Music Services, Inc.). CCLI song #114122, CCLI License #2718708.
  • All other text on this page © The United Methodist Church of Morgan Hill.

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