Lent 2024


The Third Sacrament

March 20, 2024 • Pastor Carl-Eric Gentes

Final week of Lent

Paying the Debt

March 13, 2024 • Pastor Carl-Eric Gentes • Matthew 18:21–35, Ephesians 2:1–9

When someone sins against us, a debt is incurred. Someone needs to pay and someone will always pay. We may pay it by extracting it from the one who hurt us. We may pay it by assuming the loss ourselves. That debt is sometimes paid in one lump sum or by small installments. The debt payments may look like lingering resentment or bursts of anger. The debt may be paid in self-destructive behavior or persistent distrust and fractured relationships with others. Debts are paid in a host of different ways, but the fact remains that they must be paid.  Our problem is not that we aren’t forgiving enough, it is that we are paying this debt from the wrong account. We cannot participate in God’s will to reconcile all things if we only rely on our own limited resources, we will go bankrupt. When God invites us to forgive debts, God makes sure that you are fully funded to do so.

Humility in the Cross

March 6, 2024 • Pastor Carl-Eric Gentes • 1 Timothy 1:12–16, Philippians 2:1–8

Forgiveness can be hard because it is precisely when we have been hurt by another, that we find it hardest to be humble. The hurt is quickly paired with righteous anger. We can find ourselves saying, I didn’t deserve this, or what did I do to you? We can quickly move to feelings of superiority knowing that I could never do something like that? But, to practice humility is to recognize that forgiveness is always a gift exchanged between fellow sinners. Humility is also part of how God forgives us. Through the cross, God empties themself in act of empathy. In humility, God sees what its like to be us, and finds the possibility of forgiveness.

Tell the Truth

February 28, 2024 • Pastor Carl-Eric Gentes • 1 John 1:5–10, Ephesians 4:22–32

Forgiveness requires that the truth be spoken. The truth about our hurt and the truth about how we have hurt others. Too often we are disillusioned by our attempts to give or receive forgiveness because we are not willing to tell the truth as victims and perpetrators alike.

Reconciliation, not Catharsis

February 21, 2024 • Pastor Carl-Eric Gentes • Colossians 1:13–20, Matthew 6:9–15

We live in an age of grievance. It's not just that people are mad at each other, but that people feel wronged by each other. For many in and out of the church, forgiveness is not just hard, but it is morally wrong. It is wrong because it asks me to suppress the claims of my I. It requires that I value the needs of the other over my needs for justice or my needs to feel better. Journalist Elizabeth Bruenig put it simply, “There’s just something unsustainable about an environment that demands constant atonement, but actively disdains the very idea of forgiveness.” But this problem has more to do with our warped thoughts about what forgiveness is for, rather than what God's motivation and purpose is.