In 2016, Austria was a world leader in recycling. Fully 63% of all waste was recycled and kept out of their landfills. They have incredibly strict rules for how you separate your waste materials. There are bins for: paper, plastic, metal, and glass. There are rules for collecting toxic and/or combustible materials. And, there are rules for compost. If it’s organic, coffee and tea bags, and certain paper towel products, it goes in compost. What’s left goes into a generic waste container.
All these bins and containers are color coded. And the rules are strictly followed. One website says, “Non-compliance with the rules on waste separation can lead to criminal charges and fines.”
TCMII, located in Heiligenkreuz, Austria, follows these rules with exactness. Given that they feed upwards of 100 people for 10 days at a time throughout the 9 teaching sessions, there is a lot of organic waste. It all goes into a pit to decompose so it can be used in the landscaping process around the campus.
Someone has to empty the pit. One year, it was the job of two seminary students who were there as short-term workers. Frank and Brian drew the short straw. They spent the afternoon running the muck from the compost pit through a leaf/limb chopper to give it one final grind. Then they distributed it to the various flower beds. At the end of the day, they put their clothes, shoes included, into a general waste container. They (the clothes) were filthy beyond reclamation.
You couldn’t remove those clothes far enough from any human contact. Buried underground, placed at the bottom of the ocean, flown into outer space…those seemed the best options for getting rid of something so incredibly putrid.
By supper time, Frank and Brian had scrubbed themselves clean, put on new clothes and a little body wash. You’d have never known they’d been buried for half a day in the compost pit.
Text: Micah 7:18-20
Listening to the Text
These questions are specifically designed to help you look at the text more carefully.
- Note the various places where sins are mentioned. What happens to them?
- How does forgiveness of sins reveal God’s faithfulness to His covenant with Abraham?
Applying What We’ve Heard
These questions are to help you see how the text applies to you and others.
- How do you feel, knowing God has trampled your sins into the dust of the ground?
- When did you first receive God’s mercy and experience forgiveness of sins?
Forgiving Father, these pictures are overwhelming. You actually bury our sins in the depths of the sea. You overlook the mess we’ve made of our lives and willingly forgive us when we come to you. How do we thank you for that? How do we ever repay you? We know we don’t. So, we simply want to honor you and praise you for your mercy. Please, receive our praise. Jesus, thank you for making forgiveness possible. Thank you for dying for us. Thank you for being gracious and merciful. Holy Spirit, bear witness with our spirit that we are forgiven. Remind us of that whenever we need to know that. Convey to the Father the depths of our heartfelt gratitude. Amen.
Listening to Jesus
Read: Mark 2:1-12
Four good friends bring a paralyzed man to Jesus. The astounding story has them lowering him down on a pallet through the roof. There Jesus announces that his sins are forgiven. He makes it clear that He has the power to forgive. It’s the greatest gift Jesus gives us, other than His presence. He removes our sins from us and makes it impossible for God to ever see them again.
Responding in Life
- We encourage you to keep diving into Scripture on your own and with others as you continue Listen to what He has to say.