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The Passionate Jesus

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The Rev. Dr. Scott Black Johnston The Rev. Dr. Scott Black Johnston

The Rev. Dr. Scott Black Johnston is senior pastor of Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York, NY.

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Presbyterian Church (USA)

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Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, New York, NY


Dr. Scott Black Johnston: Meet Me at the Hotel Montana

April 01, 2012

"Capital of the World" is my favorite Ernest Hemingway story.  In it, he tells the tale of a Spanish father searching for his son who ran away from home after having a fight with his old man.

 

The father so badly wants to reconcile with his beloved boy that he places an advertisement in the local newspaper, El Liberal.  The advertisement reads, "Paco, meet me at the Hotel Montana at noon on Tuesday.  All is forgiven!  Love, Papa."

The next day at noon, arriving at the Hotel Montana, the father is astonished to discover 800 young men named Paco waiting for the embrace of forgiveness.

This story makes a profound assessment of the human condition.

We all have a deep hunger for forgiveness.  We carry the weight of guilt around.  When we inventory our lives; bad decisions, selfish acts, and stupid moves stand out in our mind's eye.  We know that we have spoken angry words, behaved in cloddish ways, and even done violence toward other children of God.

Sure it's true; there are those out there who claim to have no guilt, no misgivings as to how they have conducted their lives.  I have heard people say, with a beer in hand and a belly full of bluster, "I have no regrets.  There is nothing in life that I would have done differently."

 

In Clint Eastwood's mold-breaking Western movie, Unforgiven, there is a moment when a young outlaw, the Schofield Kid, is overcome by the fact that he has just shot a man.  Even though the dead man was a nasty character, the young fighter struggles with what he has done.

Finally, through his tears, the Kid appeals to his older, jaded partner, William Munny (played by Eastwood): "I guess he had it coming to him.  He sure had it coming to him, didn't he, Will?"

Silently, Munny thinks over the weeping man's question; and then, spitting in the dust, the craggy-faced gunslinger growls, "We've all got it coming, Kid."

We've all got it coming.  "There is no distinction between us humans," writes the apostle Paul, "for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." (Romans 3: 22-23)

This is why we all hunger for pardon.  We are all "Pacos" yearning to run and find a father who will declare, "All is forgiven."...

I am wondering, would you be willing to share the story of a time when somebody forgave you?

Dare to post, good readers!

[Taken with permission from Scott's blog, Sharp About Your Prayers.]


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