Due to the current COVID-19 situation, services will be as follows:
Lenten services will be canceled. We will continue with our brief Holy Communion Service Sunday April 5 at 9:00am. For Holy Week, we will have our brief Holy Communion service on Good Friday (April 10) at 6:30pm.
No service Wednesday (8th) or Thursday (9th).
Pastor will be recording a message on Saturday which will be available on Facebook.
If communion times do not work for you, please contact Pastor for different times. For those who wish to provide an offering, there will be an offering basket at the rear of the church if you come for our brief Holy Communion service, or they can be mailed to Redeemer Lutheran Church, 711 10th Avenue West, Dickinson, ND 58601. Thank you for your prayerful thoughts during this troublesome time.
We will revisit the situation weekly and decide accordingly. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact an elder or pastor
LENTEN DEVOTIONAL March 31, 2020
Forgiving Real Sin
Scripture- Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of His inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. Micah 7:18
Again this week we hear from Christian author C. S. Lewis:
A great deal of our anxiety to make excuses comes from not really believing in the
forgiveness of sins, from thinking that God will not take us to Himself again unless
He is satisfied that some sort of case can be made out in our favor. But that would
not be forgiveness at all. Real forgiveness means looking steadily at the sin, the sin
that is left over without any excuse, after all allowances have been made, and seeing
it in all its horror, dirt, meanness, and malice, and nevertheless being wholly
reconciled to the man who has done it. That, and only that, is forgiveness, and that
we can always have from God if we ask for it.
Reading Lewis’ words I think of how it goes when a public figure (maybe in the political, sports, or entertainment world) “falls from grace” through some unacceptable actions or words. Most often they are not accepted back into the fold unless and until they are “sorry enough,” show generous amounts of remorse, do community service of some kind, or appear teary-eyed in front of a television camera. Forgiveness is seen as something that is earned or warranted by “making up” for the sin rather than something that is simply received as a free gift.
This wrong view of forgiveness is practiced not only in the public realm, but in my life and your life too. We put conditions on forgiveness by saying things like, “I forgive you, but don’t do it again!” We imply that somehow forgiveness must be warranted by remorseful attitudes or actions. To be sure, we are, as Jesus said, to “bear the fruits of repentance.” We don’t just go on willfully sinning. Nevertheless, we do continue to sin and, as Jesus instructed Peter, when that happens we freely forgive “seventy times seven” (Mtt. 18:22), meaning in an unlimited and unconditional way. Another way to say it is that forgiveness never comes about by our attitudes or actions but through God’s attitudes and actions in Christ. His perfect life, death, and resurrection make forgiveness an established reality which we are now free to announce to one another without, to paraphrase Lewis, “a case being made in favor” of the person who needs to be forgiven.
Isaiah reminds us that even our best acts are like “filthy rags” (64:6). Real forgiveness is looking right at the filth of another’s sin and simply letting it go because it has already been placed on Jesus. Borrowing from Lewis’ idea, we might say that we don’t treat petty sins with petty forgiveness, but we treat real sins with real forgiveness, which God delights to give in Christ!
I close with words from now- sainted Dr. Richard Kapfer, former president of Iowa District West: “Forgiveness is all that we have. We don’t have perfection. We don’t have any way to right most wrongs or take away the hurts that our sins have caused. We don’t have any way to re-grow our children or any way to take back the wasted words, wasted time, and wasted opportunities. There is only one way—the way of forgiveness. We have the privilege of declaring that and of openly modeling that.”
Pastor Michael D. Wolters