Week of Proper 22: Wednesday, Year 1   10 comments

Lord's Prayer in Greek

Above:  The Lord’s Prayer in Greek

Image in the Public Domain

The Difficulty of Forgiveness

OCTOBER 11, 2023


Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), of The Episcopal Church, contains an adapted two-years weekday lectionary for the Epiphany and Ordinary Time seasons from the Anglican Church of Canada.  I invite you to follow it with me.


Jonah 4:1-11 (TANAKH:  The Holy Scriptures):

This displeased Jonah greatly, and he was grieved.  He prayed to the LORD, saying,

O LORD! Isn’t this just what I said when I was still in my own country?  That is why I fled beforehand to Tarshish.  For I know that You are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in kindness, renouncing punishment.  Please, LORD, take my life, for I would rather die than live.

The LORD replied,

Are you that deeply grieved?

Now Jonah had left the city and found a place east of the city.  He made a booth there and found a place east of the city.  The LORD God provided a ricinus plant, which grew up over Jonah, to provide shade for his head and save him from discomfort.  Jonah was very happy about the plant.  But the next day at dawn God provided a worm, which attacked the plant so that it withered.  And when the sun rose, God provided a sultry east wind; the sun beat down on Jonah’s head, and he became faint.  He begged for death, saying,

I would rather die than live.

Then God said to Jonah,

Are you so deeply grieved about the plant?

He replied,

Yes, so deeply that I want to die.

Then the LORD said:

You cared about the plant, which you did not work for and which you did not grow, which appeared overnight and perished overnight.  And should I not care about Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and many beasts as well?

Psalm 86:1-10 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

1  Bow down your ear, O LORD, and answer me,

for I am poor and in misery.

2  Keep watch over my life, for I am faithful;

save your servant who puts his trust in you.

3  Be merciful to me, O LORD, for you are my God;

I call upon you all the day long.

4  Gladden the soul of your servant,

for to you, O LORD, I lift up my soul.

5  For you, O LORD, are good and forgiving,

and great is your love toward all who call upon you.

6  Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer,

and attend to the voice of my supplications.

7  In the time of my trouble I call upon you,

for you will answer me.

8  Among the gods there is none like you, O LORD,

nor anything like your works.

9  All nations you have made will come and worship you, O LORD,

and glorify your name.

10  For you are great;

you do wondrous things;

for you alone are God.

Luke 11:1-4 (The Jerusalem Bible):

Now once he [Jesus] was in a certain place praying, and when had finished one of his disciples said,

Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.

He said to them,

Say this when you pray:

“Father, may your name be held holy,

your kingdom come;

give us each day our daily bread,

and forgive us our sins,

for we ourselves forgive each one of us who is in debt to us.

And do not put us to the test.”


The Collect:

Almighty and everlasting God, you are always more ready to hear than we to pray, and to give more than we either desire or deserve: Pour upon us the abundance of your mercy, forgiving us those things of which our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things for which we are not worthy to ask, except through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ our Savior; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


Some Related Posts:

A New Zealand Paraphrase of the Lord’s Prayer:


A Prayer for Grace to Forgive:



Jonah could not forgive the people of Nineveh, whom he had just met and did not know, for being of that place.  So he was angry that God had forgiven them.  The Lord’s Prayer is just one passage in which Jesus establishes the link between God’s forgiveness of us and our forgiveness of others.  Consider this passage (Matthew 7:1-5) also:

Do not judge, and you will not be judged; because the judgements you give are the judgements you will get, and the amount you measure out is the amount you will be given.  Why do you observe the splinter in your brother’s eye and never notice the plank in your own?  How dare you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the splinter out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own?  Hypocrite!  Take the plank out of your own eye first, and then you will see clearly enough to take the splinter out of your brother’s eye.

I had planned to write about the link between Jonah’s prayer and Elijah’s similar yet different plea in 1 Kings 19:4.  It is a fascinating aspect of Jonah 4 and one worth pondering.  Yet a more personal and to-the-point aspect of the readings occupies my mind while I type these words.

I was a doctoral student in the Department of History at The University of Georgia from Fall 2005 to Fall 2006.  Those were sixteen mostly difficult months.  They were only sixteen months because, in Fall Semester 2006, I received written notice that the faculty would not permit a third year.  Certain professors asked me take an M.A. instead.  But I already have one, I said.  Get another one, they said.  No, I replied.  Goodbye at the end of this semester, I told them in so many words.

My major professor had blackballed me without justification.  I need to forgive him.  Am I like Jonah in any way?  I am weak; may God forgive me for that.




Forgiveness occurred some time ago.  I became conscious of it only after the fact.





[Update: Those negative emotions washed out of my system years ago.  I would not have been human had I not had such emotions, but I would have been foolish not to drop that burden years ago.–2017]

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