When St. John was finishing his gospel, followers of Jesus were being expelled from their local synagogues – centers of faith, and community. So it is not surprising that the original conclusion of the gospel emphasizes the community of faith we now call the church. That early community, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, knew the importance of forgiveness. The story of Peter, who denies knowing Jesus three times on Maundy Thursday, was a prime example of forgiveness & the early embracing community. The story of Thomas, who was skeptical of the resurrection, was a further example. In times of persecution, the open arms of Mother church showered gracious forgiveness upon all. Today, when we are at our best, those gracious forgiving embracing arms of love of the church continue to reach out to all.
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