Tag Archives: forgiveness

Remember…..

gibbet

The gallows speaks
What does it say?
It says “Remember!
Remember that day!
Remember the one
who hung on the end of the noose
and swung
choking,
Yet with tortured breath
said ‘Father, forgive’
as encroaching death
cut short the life of one who lived
to help and heal, to cleanse, forgive.
For death could do its worst
and still this man had only words to heal
the damage that we did to him.
Remember him – and know for sure
that God cannot be forced to hate,
destroy, condemn, declare our fate
destruction
as we destroyed that man.
No.
God can, will love, forgive, resist
all evil. Always. He just keeps on
loving, healing, setting free
any who come on bended knee
admitting that they were the one
who sent that man, sent God’s own son
to hang by neck ‘til breath was gone.
Remember how he loves you.”
And so we dare to live the way
that we saw on that fateful day
when God’s son hung and swung and still
Said ‘Father, forgive’.
And so we will ourselves,
when offered hate,
retaliate.
Yes.
We retaliate
with love.
As we remember.

Fourth Sunday of Advent: Matthew 1:18-25

Emmanuel

In heart of clamour
Silence grows
In midst of turmoil
Peace flows
Beyond all logic
God draws near,
Takes on our flesh –
Christ is here.

Rest for the weary,
For hatred, love.
For sin, forgiveness,
For warfare a dove.
Hope for despair,
Comfort for grief
For sorrow, joy –
Such sweet relief
When dawns the Dayspring
On our sight,
Dispersing gloom,
Bringing light.

The King is born –
We own His sway,
Kneel in homage
On this His day.
Thoughts are stilled
Words fall away.
Gaze in awe
In silence pray
Before the Babe
Asleep on hay
Emmanuel

Week 3: Friday Matthew 18:21-35

Forgiveness.

In the face both of unspeakable atrocities in the world – the grand-scale ones we witness in the news and the hidden personal ones of abuse, cruelty, simple unkindness – I offer you these two poems, which begin to explore the Mystery at the heart of the Gospel – the response of Love to unspeakable, unthinkable darkness and destruction.

 

Justice

“Love, love, love”… the music croons eternal truth
“love, love, love”… the hopeful zeitgeist of my youth
“love, love, love”… all-pervading sentiment
“love, love, love… love is all you need”

The years roll by
Bring sorrow and joy
Hope and despair
But always there
In the background…
“love, love, love… love is all you need”

And down the years
Love becomes
Warped
Twisted
Sullied
The word used to
Abuse, to
Accuse.
Pain unending
Clouds my days
I become
Scapegoat
For the sins of others
Bearing the unbearable.
Guilty for being.
Until
At last I hear
God’s whisper in my heart
At last I hear
His verdict –
“Not guilty!”
“Never guilty!”
“Innocent victim!”
Then
At last
My heart cries out,
My soul screams out for
Justice!

And on that day
I turn to
Christ my King
I petition
Christ my King
For
Justice.
Not for
Vengeance
But for
Justice

And Christ my King
Hears my cry
Says
“Rise up! Stand tall!
Your petition is granted.
You shall have the justice you seek.”
And I know that
Christ my King
Never lies
Christ my King
Never dies
Christ my King
Will look them in the eyes
And they will know
They will know
They will know
What they have done
To me and so to Him
And I know that
Christ my King
Will judge them
Christ my King
Will pronounce their guilt
Christ my King
Will pass sentence
Christ my King
Will open wide His arms,
Show them His wounded hands,
Speak to them words of
Forgiveness and healing
Pass His sentence of Love

For that is the
Justice
He bought
And that is the
Justice
I sought.
For
Christ my King
Reigns supreme,
Reaches out His wounded hands,
Gathers me to His wounded side,
Heals my wounded heart,
Breathes His truth into my soul –
“Love, love, love… love is all you need –
My love”

Father, forgive

Crown of thorns on piercèd head
Eyes dark with pain, deep wells of dread
Knowing too well what lies ahead –
To hang on cross until He’s dead.

On mountaintop with vision vast
The choice was made, the die was cast
He nailed His colours to the mast,
Chose God – and still to God holds fast.

Now nails will bind Him to the tree
A banner raised for all to see
He hangs and dies in agony
By cruel death to set us free

He trusted God – now God is gone
What price now faith? He hangs alone
There’s naught but pain – temptation strong
To curse, deny, hate – not atone

And yet, though blind with blood and tears
He conquers hate, He quells His fears
“Father Forgive” rings in our ears
His cry still echoes down the years

For we make the same choice as He,
Embrace God’s way on bended knee
To live, love, die to set all free
And “Father, forgive” is still our plea

For we, like Him, must bear the weight
Of others’ pain, uncalled-for hate –
Yet still to pray “Father, forgive”
That Christ in us may help them live,
To find in Him their own true state
As by His grace love recreates
What was destroyed by evil’s might –
That darkness may give way to light

And though it seems too hard to do,
With strength nigh gone, resources few –
Yet He who died in agony
Now lives in us, empowers, that we
May live, love, give – and give some more
Drawing on His unending store
Of grace, of love, of life divine
Grafted in Him, the One True vine.

Week 3: Thursday Matthew 12:15-21

Gentleness and patience – that’s what today’s passage speaks to my heart.

We are quick to justify ourselves, to confront those who seek to undermine us, to stand out ground, to fight our corner, to be assertive, to win the argument.

That’s not what Jesus does when personally threatened.
He withdraws.
And here’s a thought… in the context of the situation, who are the damaged reeds and the guttering lamps? Surely not his disciples, nor the crowds following him for healing. No. Those who need time and space and opportunity to grow strong and tall again, to burn straight and true, are surely the religious leaders – those who are currently plotting against him.

We look at those who seek to do us down and see an enemy who needs to be fought and subdued.
Jesus looks at those who seek to do him down and sees someone who is broken and in need of healing.
We are impatient for idiots to realise their stupidity.
Jesus quietly continues to live out the truth of the Kingdom, giving time for the broken ones to realise their own need and come to him for healing. As some of them did.

Peace in conflict.
Hope in despair.
Courage in danger.
Faith in doubt.
God of paradox and miracle.

And what of us?
We bring our brokenness to him for healing.
We live out our own lives true to kingdom rules, regardless of societal norms – feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, healing the sick, releasing the prisoner, sending blankets to refugees, accepting the stranger into our community.

Week 3: Tuesday Matthew 9:1-8

Definition of forgiveness

Once upon a time there was a woman to whom God came and spoke face to face.

At least, that’s what she thought was happening – but being very devout and aware that The Enemy sometimes comes disguised as an angel of light, she went to her Parish Priest and asked his advice.

Disturbed by her story and lacking confidence to discern the truth of the matter, he sent her off to the Bishop.

The Bishop was deeply sceptical – this was, after all, not just a lay person but a woman to boot! Thinking he knew exactly how to trip her up, expose her for the charlatan he assumed she was, he said:

“There is only one way to know for sure whether it is the voice of God that you hear. Next time God speaks to you, ask him to tell you my secret sin – the one I have confessed only to Him.”

The woman bowed before the Bishop and went her way.
A week later she returned.

“Well?” asked the Bishop smugly. “What did God say?”

The woman bowed in deference, and then looked the Bishop in the eye and replied”I asked God, as you directed, to disclose to me your secret sin. God looked me in the eye, smiled, and told me to tell you that He can’t remember.”


The above is the best story I’ve ever read on God’s forgiveness. I can’t quite remember (!) where, so sadly can’t acknowledge the source, but it has to me the feel of a story from Anthony de Mello.