I stand singing, surrounded by joy, by rejoicing, by love. This is a typical Sunday morning at my church. I said typical for my church, not necessarily for all churches that I have worshiped in over the years. Why such an outpouring of joy here? We are in an economically challenged, that is to say poor, neighborhood. There is more than our earthly share of pain, loss, illness, heartbreak, homelessness and suffering present here daily in our individual lives. And yet such joy, such love is evident and present among us on this Sunday morning. It defies explanation. Or does it?
The words “But he who has been forgiven little loves little.” (Luke 7:47) keep a constant refrain going in my mind until I realize this is the explanation for the outpouring of joy and love that I experience here every Sunday morning. We are people who have been forgiven much and we know it; therefore we love much.
We are people who have come out of incarceration into freedom. Not all of our incarcerations have been in a physical building, but we each one have been in bondage nonetheless. We know what it is to be a prisoner. Enslaved by our sins of addiction or greed or pride or hatred, we have now been set free by God’s redeeming love and forgiveness. Because our sins are many, we are forgiven much leading us to love much; giving us reason to rejoice much.
We have each come out of incarceration into freedom, out of darkness into light, leaving behind the old – entering into the new, out of death into life, given a clean slate, a new beginning, a fresh start, a second chance; these all describe our transition from prisoner to free person. That’s what we have in Christ, freedom. His forgiveness sets us free from our sin and gives us a new beginning every day.
“You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.” (Romans 6:18)
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
“He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,” (Isaiah 61:1)
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36)
“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:8)
“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (Luke 8:32)
we have been forgiven much, we have been freed from the prison of our own sin by Christ’s death on the cross
therefore we will rejoice much and we will love much
sincerely, Grace Day