The Axe of Forgiveness – the Love of God

Lent 4b – Sunday 18th March 2012
John 3: 14-21

For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

To relax I like nothing better than reading a good book. I’m something of a fan of Lee Child and his Jack Reacher series of books. I also like Jeffrey Deaver and Simon Kernick, where the pace of story leaves you absolutely breathless.

Unseen Academicals - by Sir Terry PratchettJust recently, I fancied a change of style and I picked up “Unseen Academicals” by Terry Pratchett. I hadn’t read any of his Discworld series of books, but thought a book about football (or foot-the-ball as the book calls it) would be right up my street. And what a surprise I was in for. Terry Pratchett writes with the greatest ease and this book was a wonderfully rollicking adventure with much laughter and wisdom along the way.

The story revolves around Mr Nutt – who, it turns out, is an Orc. Orc’s were created to be the ultimate fighting machine, and they could tear their own arms off to use as weapons! Mr Nutt is one of the last of his type and so there are many that fear him and want to destroy him. Terry Pratchett uses this theme to make you think about prejudice and ignorance, and most especially about your own journey of self-discovery. Several of the characters in the story – not just the central one – discover a new world awaiting them if they’re brave enough to embrace it.

Perhaps the most poignant moment in the book comes close to the end. Mr Nutt is invited to go to Uberwald to save some other Orc’s, and he is told that Pastor Oats is continuing his mission there. This is heart-warming for Mr Nutt, for Pastor Oats was his mentor and protector in his early days. Mr Nutt is told that Pastor Oats would like to give him Forgiveness. To this, Glenda (Mr Nutt’s love interest) says that he doesn’t need forgiveness – against the implication that as an Orc he is a somewhat less than perfect creature. But Mr Nutt explains that Forgiveness is a double-headed axe that Pastor Oats carries, and indeed when Pastor Oats first discover Mr Nutt he was chained to an anvil, and he used Forgiveness to break his chains and set him free.

What a wonderful image. How many of us are chained to invisible anvils and need setting free by the axe of Forgiveness? “Unseen Academicals”. It’s just a book. But, by golly, it’s a wonderfully inspiring book. I’ve just started the first book of the Discworld series – “The Colour of Money” – I’ll let you know what it’s like.

I just wish more people would pick up The Book – The Bible – and be inspired. Because this truly is the book to read. A journey of self-discovery? It’s what we all need.

For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

Happy days


About Neil Chappell

Husband, father, Congregational Minister and football fan all rolled into one convenient package.
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4 Responses to The Axe of Forgiveness – the Love of God

  1. Cordelia Burpee says:

    Thank you on this Monday morning as I contemplate my many mixed feelings about how I might make John 3:14 speak clearly through all the dusty heavy luggage of past preaching. Reading Discworld sagas makes me feel less odd.. You will want to consider ” Equal Rites. ” “Small Gods” : “A Monstrous Regiment” and his newest book “Snuff” . Would that I could be that true and engaging.

  2. Pastor Tim Christensen says:

    Wow, another Christian who’s discovered the wonder of Terry Pratchett’s world? What can I say but WUUU-HOOO!!! I’d love to be in conversation as you read Terry’s other books; I think there’s a world of faith in amongst all the cultural skewerings that make the Discworld anything but flat. And I’ll second Cordelia’s comment about Monstrous Regiment because I’m rereading that one right now. Oh, and I should thank my wife (also an ELCA pastor) who found this AWeirdThing link and passed it my way — she knows me SOOOO well. [chuckle…]

    • Thanks Tim.
      If the rest of the books are as inspiring as Unseen Academicals that’s definitely a conversation to have. Just started Colour of Money … Monstrous Regiment after that then

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