Sunday evening marked our Guest Service this term, ‘Forgiven and Forgotten?’ Aside from the copious amount of delicious refreshments and mild panic during fairy-lights set up, what stayed with me until Monday morning was the sensitive yet provoking message that our past, our experiences and our sinfulness is not forgotten by the God of justice. The message that we are eternally forgiven when we come to the foot of the cross and proclaim our unfaithfulness to God is a message I have heard many times over the past 10 years of sermons I’ve sat through; yet it is only this past year or so that I have stopped to consider what this means for the promise of perfect justice we hold onto.
When I stand before the Creator of the Universe, held to account for my life on this earth, what will justice look like for me? What will justice look like for those I have hurt, directly or indirectly though my relationship with this broken world? If I am fully forgiven with the inheritance promised to me through Christ, how does personal, corporate and righteous judgement fit into that?
As wonderful as the Internship is, I have not yet been taught the answer to these questions, and I doubt I ever will know. The Internship has, however, enabled me to join in with the Monday Night Group (MNG) hosted on Monday nights (you guessed it) at Sanctuary 21 in the town centre. A group designed to offer food and fellowship to people living on the streets or coming from difficult personal situations, MNG has given me real life insight into how total forgiveness and injustice are held in tension. Not only has friendship with people at MNG shown me more of my own brokenness, it has shown me more of God’s desire to love people where they are and carry us into the newness of relationship with Him. I’ve seen real need and real joy held together in perfect tension, hope in the promise of justice yet to be realised and the celebration of grace and mercy intertwined. Those of us who are forgiven little, love little. Thankfully, we all have a lot we need forgiveness for.
To try and draw this collection of thoughts together, I’d like to return to the age-old truth that we are works in progress. I believe our internal world and intentions are of much greater importance to God than we give them credit, and how we choose to love this world impacts how we love its Creator. Though we do not always choose well or behave lovingly, we are forgiven when we turn our eyes back to the One who chose us before Himself. The clean slate we are freely offered is an opportunity to try again to proclaim His glory in-spite of the injustice of the world and because of the true and righteous justice we can place our hope in.