In May, 2019 Ted Brelsford joined with us as Transitional Pastor. He and his wife, Leslie, are living in the church parsonage and have quickly become part of our Faith community. Ted is a graduate of Slippery Rock State University (BA), Princeton Theological Seminary (MDiv), and Emory University (PhD). Prior to coming to Boston Ted and Leslie were on a 7 month sabbatical at Green Bough House of Prayer in Scott, GA. Before that Ted was pastor of a church in Orchard Park, NY from 2008 to 2018. From 1999 to 2008 he was on faculty at Candler School of Theology, Emory University in Atlanta, where he continues to teach occasional online or short on-campus courses in the areas of Religious Education and Practical Theology. Leslie is also a graduate of Slippery Rock State University. She teaches at the Montessori School in East Aurora. Ted has 2 adult daughters and 2 grandchildren in Georgia. Leslie's adult son and daughter live in Western NY. We are delighted to have them with us!
November? Already? It’s been (and still is) a beautiful autumn. And it was a wonderful summer. So, I guess I’ll gladly take winter however and whenever it comes.
In my September 29 “Ask the Pastor” sermon I addressed a couple questions about forgiveness. Forgiveness is at the heart of Christian faith. Forgiveness was a key point of Jesus’s life. And forgiveness is key to putting our own hearts and lives right with God, others, ourselves, and the world.
In a monthly newsletter I get from “Friends of Silence,” Christian author Nan Merrill writes that “Fall is the season of letting go.” Which, she points out, also makes it a good time for forgiveness. “Trees let go their leaves, plants their flowers, … we let go of bird song and water play and butterflies on the wing. [And] in the inner landscape of our hearts perhaps it is a time for forgiveness, the letting go of past hurts and misunderstandings, of anger and resentment.” Forgiveness is a challenge for all of us. We live in such a “world of hurt,” as singer-songwriter Beth Nielson Chapman so beautifully puts it, no one gets very far into life without considerable pain and offense.
But forgiveness is at the core of a good life. It is a deep act of faith to forgive; an act of letting go. And it is in letting go that we find the deeper riches of a spiritual life. When we forgive others, we set ourselves free from the burdens of our hurts and offenses and open ourselves more fully to the goodness of life God has given us. Fred Luskin, director of the Stanford University Forgiveness Projects, puts it this way “Forgiveness is a complex experience that changes an offended person’s spiritual feelings, emotions, thoughts, actions, and self-confidence level. I believe learning to forgive the hurts and grudges of our life may be an important step for us to feel more hopeful and spiritually connected and less depressed” (from Forgive for Good).
So, I pray, may God who grants you forgiveness in Christ Jesus grant you forgiveness and peace in your own heart and soul. Amen.