Theologians At Lunch

Brian Harris on The Power of Story

I always remember Merv. Some years ago I noticed that when we had communion – where we remember the death of Jesus – he always let the bread and wine pass by and didn’t participate. I asked him why.

“Brian,” he said, “many years ago I was in a different marriage, and treated my wife appalling – so badly she had a breakdown. I don’t understand why I was so awful to her, but I do know I will never be worthy to take part in communion.”

“Merv,” I said. “Isn’t that why Jesus died. So that we can be forgiven.”

“Oh sure,” Merv said. “For things like a temper tantrum or telling little white lies. But my sin was so much bigger. I ruined a wonderful person’s life. There is no forgiveness for me.”

“Well actually, Merv.” I said – “Jesus died so that all sin can be forgiven, including yours. His love and forgiveness is bigger than you imagine. Why not trust him to forgive you and to help your former wife – and when you’re ready – start taking communion again.”

It was a three month process for Merv. He agonised over his past, did what he could to set it right, and then one Sunday, as the communion went around, he stretched out his hand and took the bread and the wine. It had taken a while, but he was home at last…

Everyone has a story, what’s your story?