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This sermon was originally preached on September 17, 2023 at
Christ the River of Life Lutheran Church in North Minneapolis, MN.
Gospel Text: Matthew 18:21-35
Good morning, friends, neighbors. My name is Amy Courts Koopman, my pronouns are she, her, hers, and as Pastor Kim wrote in today’s bulletin, this is the first church my family and I visited back in 2011 when we first moved to North Minneapolis. The years have taken me many places, including to Redeemer where I’ve worked the past five years, and next to Gethsemane Lutheran Church where I just accepted my first call. So this is a full-circle kind of moment for me, and I’m grateful to be here on this last Sunday before I officially start my first call.
Fair warning, I’m going to be spitting out a lot of numbers, but for good reason, I promise. So let’s look to Matthew 18:21-35, a parable about accountability and pardon, which goes something like this:
An enslaved man is brought before his lord to settle a 10,000 Talent debt, and because he cannot pay it, his lord is going to sell him and his family and all their belongings. But the man begs for mercy. His lord is filled with compassion and releases him from massive debt. Literally, his debt is pardoned, the account is settled, and he is freed to leave.
With his newfound freedom, this man goes to another enslaved person, violently grabs him by the throat and demands repayment of 100 Denarii. Like the first, this second now-choking person can’t repay his debt. And like the first, he begs for patience and mercy. But instead of pardoning this second debtor, the first throws him in prison til the debt can be repaid.
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