Tag Archives: Forgiveness

Thanksgiving: Back to the jail

“God moves in a mysterious way, His mercies to perform. . .” is the title and first line of a hymn written by William Cowper (1731-1800) in 1774. Believers in God’s works, omnipotence, grace, and pure, undeserved mercy apprehend well the truth published in this line.

My husband and I spent a couple of hours in our County’s jail on Thanksgiving, as we did last year, helping to serve a Thanksgiving dinner to more than 50 trusted inmates. Jail inmates prepared part of the meal, and the Prosecutor’s office received funding for the food. My husband, a county public defender, and I were among those serving the well-cooked, attractive meal of turkey, mashed potatoes, rolls, cranberries, etc. The inmates were cheerful and cordial.

Witnessing the inmates’ conviviality gave me pause for gratitude for God’s merciful grace. All mankind errs. God forgives all who repent. Viewing the hard side of error–incarceration–is a sobering thing. It is also a beautiful thing, to see repentance perceptibly fulfilled, and the promise of forgiveness.

Once again, Happy Thanksgiving, especially to all who apprehend and repent of their own sins and the gracious mercy that removes them from our blotters.

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Forgiveness…

I loved this quote from Augustine, recorded by Bingham, and quoted in R. V. G. Tasker’s The General Epistle of James, at page 136.

‘Can we say’, asks Augustine, ‘that one brother may cleanse another from the contagion of sin? Yes, we are taught to do it by the mystical meaning of this work of our Lord, that we should confess our sins one to another, and pray one for another, as Christ intercedes for us. Let us hear St. James the apostle, evidently commanding this very thing, and saying, “Confess your faults one to another, and pray for one another”, because in this our Lord hath set us an example. For, if He, who neither has, nor ever had, nor ever will have any sin, prays for our sins, how much rather ought we to pray for the sins of one another! And, if He forgive us, who has nothing to be forgiven by us, how much more ought we to forgive one another, who cannot live here without sin! Let us therefore forgive one another, and pray for each other’s sins, that so we may in some measure wash one another’s feet.’ (Italics mine, because I found this portion significantly stirring.)

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