Welcome to Safe Harbor Presbyterian Church
Where the love of Christ builds a harbor of acceptance, inspiration,
Fellowship, service and joy.
You enrich our worship with your presence.
"When we say welcome, we mean it!"
It is not possible to pass the collection plate at our live home church.
Safe Harbor Presbyterian Church
c/o Monty Rice
1298 Warren Rd.
Cambria, CA 93428
If this is your first time here, WELCOME.
Safe Harbor Presbyterian Church-PCUSA
2700 Eton Rd. • Cambria, CA 93428
Call or text 805.395.1521
Prelude Deborah Farrand
At the tolling of the bell, please quietly prepare your heart for worship.
Meditation Music Deborah Farrand
Welcome and Announcements
† Call to Worship
Leader: God is great.
People: God can make the mountains tremble and the sea to part.
Leader: God is in all things and the source of love and compassion.
People: God gives us this day for rest and renewal.
Leader: We gather now to come into God’s mighty presence.
People: We come with grateful hearts.
Unison: We come to worship, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
† The Prayer of Adoration (In unison, from Exodus 15:11 and Romans 14:7-9)
Great God, nothing is like you. Glorious in holiness, fearful in praises and doing wonders. You are our source and guide. For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. We give you praise that in you we are one great family bound by love. Amen.
†Hymn of Adoration # 317 In Christ There is no East or West
Prayer of Confession (In unison)
Gracious Lord, source of all love, you show us how to live, love, serve, forgive and share your light. But there are times we forget and fail to forgive, fail to love those who do not love us, fail to serve the downtrodden and heavy burdened. You gave the ultimate that we may have salvation and be forgiven. We are sorry we are not better followers of your way. Please hear our silent confessions...
(In unison) We thank you for your mercy and for your gift of Grace. Please make us new in heart and spirit. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
Assurance of Pardon New Creations in Christ
†The Sharing of the Peace
Hymn of Preparation #452 Open the Eyes of My Heart
Leader: Listen for the Word of God.
People: Our ears are open and our hearts are ready to receive.
Scripture: Matthew 18:21-35
Leader: The Word of the Lord.
People: Thanks be to God.
Sermon: The Nature of Forgiveness Rev. Eugenia Gamble
Hymn of Response # 445 God, How Can We Forgive
Call to Prayer: Hymn #466 Come and Fill Our Hearts with Your Peace
Prayers of the People
The Lord’s Prayer
Response to Prayer Hymn #710 We Are an Offering
Prayer of Dedication
† Hymn of Parting # 753 Make Me a Channel of Your Peace
† Charge and Benediction
†=If able, please stand
CURRENT PRAYER LIST
Members of our community that are lonely, hungry and sick.
If you would like to support the work of Safe Harbor Church financially:
Tax deductible checks may be made to Safe Harbor Presbyterian Church.
During our period of isolation, please mail checks to:
Monty Rice 1298 Warren Road Cambria CA 93428
WHEN WE SAY “ WELCOME! ”, WE MEAN IT!
The Rev. Eugenia A. Gamble
Tom and Lana Cochrun
Monty and Julia Rice
Forgiving from the Heart…Matthew 18:21-35…9/13/20
Matthew 18:21Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” 22Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times. 23“For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. 24When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; 25and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. 26So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. 28But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, ‘Pay what you owe.’ 29Then his fellow slave fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ 30But he refused; then he went
and threw him into prison until he would pay the debt. 31When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. 32Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’ 34And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. 35So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
Background to the text: Chapter 18 of Matthew’s gospel has sometimes been called a Manual of Church Discipline. In it, the gospel writer focuses on what being a part of the Christian community is really to be like. It is pretty simple. Love and forgiveness are to be the central marks of the church. Not just general love and forgiveness, but extraordinary love and forgiveness define the lives of Christians. We love more than the general populace and we forgive more than the general populace. That is what is to set us apart. At least it is what is supposed to set us apart. Why? Because we model our lives on Christ who loves and forgives without limit. The light of Christ results is compassion and forgiveness. Without those results the light has not shined. This passage is about recognizing that we are to treat others as God treats us. Remember, too, that this call to love and forgiveness is not a general rule given to all people. Rather it is a specific rule of Christian community life. God deals with our call to forgive outside the Christian family in other passages.
Forgiveness in the Bible: The concept of forgiveness in the Bible refers to wiping out the penalty for an offense so that what happened no longer conditions the relationship. It is not an emotion. It is a choice and it can only be offered by the one to whom the wrong was done. In some verses forgiveness seems to be tied to repentance of the offender. In most of the New Testament, forgiveness is unconditional and unilateral. It does not require ‘forgetting’ but it does require giving up the claim to requital and the loosing of bitterness.
Slavery in the Bible: The world of the Bible assumes slavery as a given. It neither elevates it nor does it specifically rail against it, although the totality of the text argues forcefully for justice, equity and fair treatment of the poor. The Greek word used in today’s text is sometimes translated as servant, but the word slave better carries the sense of dependence that is implied. It may make the text easier to understand if we think of the concept as dependence rather than slavery as the human institution of slavery is just so awful that it is hard to see any teaching value in it at all.
Vs. 21 – How many times…. – the rabbi’s taught that a righteous person was to forgive another member of the community 3 times for the same offense. If the person did the same thing a 4th time, the one wronged was under no legal requirement to forgive again. Peter understands that Jesus is calling for more than that and offers the number 7, a number of perfection.
Vs. 22 – seventy seven – some scholars believe that Jesus has in mind the story of Lamech’s execution of vengeance on his enemies in Genesis 4:23-24. The number 77 is not, then, really a number at all and represents an unlimited, incalculable amount. The point being that forgiveness is not limited and the number of times we are called upon to forgive is incalculable. Jesus’ response to Peter explodes any notion of limits.
Vs. 23 – kingdom of heaven – this refers to a situation and not a place. It is the situation in which God’s rules actually rule human life and the created order.
King – this is probably intended to evoke the image of a Persian or Egyptian king. Israel’s kings didn’t have anything like this kind of money or power.
Settle accounts – the day to day affairs of the wealthiest rulers were left to be managed by servants several different tax stations. The situation alluded to here would be something like an audit to see how well the servants were doing with their management.
Vs. 24 – ten thousand talents – this was the largest amount possible to imagine. One talent equaled fifteen years wage. Herod the Great only took in annual revenue of 900 talents. The word in Greek is literally ‘myriad’ and it was the largest number in the ancient Greek vocabulary. The point is that the debt owed is the largest imaginable.
Vs. 25 – ordered him to be sold – Jewish kings did not have this authority but Persian and Egyptian kings could do almost anything.
Vs. 26 – I will pay you everything – this is clearly impossible.
Vs. 27 – pity – this is the word for being moved in the guts. It means to be dramatically moved with compassion.
Vs. 18 – a hundred denarii – about 100 days wage.
Vs. 30 – prison – this refers to debtors prison where a person, and sometimes a whole family is held and all their assets sold to pay their debts.
Vs. 33 – mercy – compassion put into action.
Questions for Personal Reflection
1. How was forgiveness modeled for you when you were growing up? How was that modeling helpful? Harmful?
2. What do you find the hardest things to forgive?
3. One of the things that makes forgiveness hard for some of us is that it is not fair and can seem unjust. Are there some wounds that simply should not be forgiven? Is so, what? If so, How do you think those offenses should be dealt with?
4. Many of us have a hard time identifying a true wrong. We think that everything that hurts us is something that requires forgiveness. We cannot, however, forgive people for who they are; only what they do. What are some wounds that do not require forgiveness? How do we deal with those wounds?
5. When you have been wronged, what tends to be your initial reaction? What do you find helpful for moving beyond that reaction?
6. God forgets forgiven sin. We don’t. How do you deal with haunting memories of your own failings? What is necessary for you to give forgiveness to yourself and accept God’s forgiveness of you?