Devotion and Readings for September 16

Mission Movie Poster

One of the posters created to promote the 1986 film, The Mission. This show the character Mendoza, portrayed by Robert De Niro

Bible Readings and Devotion for September 16, 2020

Here are the references for the readings.  Please look these up in your print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or your online Bible:

Luke 7:36-50 

2 Corinthians 2:3-11

Psalms 42-44

Job 23

Devotion for September 16, 2020

By Pastor David Tinker

There is a scene in the 1986 film, the Mission, which is quite powerful.  The context of this is that a former slave trader, Mendoza, has left his old line of work and has heeded the call to missionary work for he church.  Two problems he faces:

1 – he feels immense guilt for his cruel slave trading work, plus other sins

2 – the mission field to which he is called is to bring the Gospel to the people group from which he had taken people to force them into slavery.

As a way of working out this struggle with sin, Mendoza chooses to carry on his back a large quantity of metal armor.  He will carry this up the mountains as he travels with the other missionaries to the place where the people live.  This is a difficult and painful journey.  This video linked below shows his arrival at the top of the mountain where Mendoza and the other missionaries arrive to greet the people of the village.

Click this link to view video on YouTube

When the people see Mendoza arrive with this burden the chief sends another man from the village with a knife.  That man runs to the side of Mendoza.  He first holds the knife to the neck of Mendoza as if to kill him, for Mendoza was an enemy of the people.  He had enslaved or killed their family and friends.

The man with the knife looks to the chief for guidance.  The chief thinks, and then instructs the man to cut the rope rather than Mendoza’s neck.  Vengeance could have ruled the day, but forgiveness was the final word.  This final word brought reconciliation.  This final word of forgiveness built a new community in that place.

In our readings from both 2 Corinthians and Luke are about forgiveness of sin, joy and community.  Sin is a powerful and painful burden in our lives.  In Luke we have a scene where a woman has been forgiven much by God through Jesus.  Our Lord notes the following about her actions of thanksgiving, “Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which were many, have been forgiven; hence she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.”

In the scene from the Mission we see that Mendoza has great joy in being shown mercy and forgiveness.  He celebrates with the people that they are friends rather than enemies.

We get to rejoice at the forgiveness of our sins.  We get to reconcile with one another.  Because we have been shown great love by God and by others, we can show great love for God and for one another.

Prayer

Almighty God, you sent your Son Jesus Christ to reconcile the world to yourself. We praise and bless you for those whom you have sent in the power of the Spirit to preach the gospel to all nations. We thank you that in all parts of the earth a community of love has been gathered together by their prayers and labors, and that in every place your servants call upon your name; for the kingdom and the power and the glory are yours forever. Amen

Prayer from Evangelical Lutheran Worship. Copyright © 2020 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.

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