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Tuesday: forgiveness

I have been thinking much lately about the people who have played a significant role in shaping the person that I am today through honest conversation, an openness to my sometimes vastly different background and perspective, their authentic and vulnerable self-offering, and – of course – lots and lots of laughter. 

One of the most incredible gifts of this time of self-isolation and social distancing has been discovering how enduring those connections are and how great the variety is in the age, ethnicity, location, occupation, culture, and faith of those that I call role-models, soul companions, and friends.

I must confess that a fair number of these bonds surprise me because I can recall moments in our history of mistrust, misunderstanding, or even sheer misery! And I am deeply grateful for the shared Spirit of God that has slowly brought healing and reconciliation and understanding and personal growth in situations where I have been wounded and/or wounded another.

Today, I invite you to reflect on the practice of forgiveness – and the place that it may have in your life right now. 

I share below, a reflection by Scott Noon and Herbert Brokering that has made a lasting impression on my own thinking about the challenging work and the enduring gift that this word offers us as Christian community and inhabitants of God’s good earth:

Forgive.

Let’s find it in Webster’s [dictionary].
It comes just after the word forge.
Just after forget-me-not.

Webster’s. Forge: a furnace or hearth
where metals are heated.
Forge: a workshop
where pig iron is transformed into wrought iron.
Forge: to form by heating and hammering into shape.
Forge. 
It’s a good word in Webster’s, just before the word forgive.

Forgive: to excuse for a fault or offence; to pardon.
Forgive: to renounce anger or resentment against.
Forgive: to absolve payment of.
Forgive: to free the offender from consequences.
Forgive: to pass over a mistake or fault
without demanding a punishment.

Herbert Brokering and Scott Noon

May the God who forgets-us-not
forge us into a family 
that forgives. 

Taking time on Tuesdays

This morning had a completely different rhythm to it to most of my Tuesdays. With the boys both home from uni and school respectively, there was no alarm clock to go off because we all had to be somewhere at a specific time to follow a day full of clock-watching and fixed schedules.

Birdsong and sunlight were what woke me. I made a cup of coffee, perused the many unread books in my study, picked one and headed back to be for a real “quiet” time. I smiled at the opening paragraph of the introduction to David Adam’s “The Open Gate” for the grace of God was tangible in the midst of our changed circumstances:

As long as we are alive, we are on the move. To come static is to stagnate and die. It is necessary for all living things to move and grow and change. Life is meant to be an adventure; change is a gift that we have to learn to use aright.

In Celtic folk-tales a curse that could happen to a person was to enter a field and not be able to get back out of it. To be stuck in that place for ever. It was seen as a definite curse to be unable to venture or to change.

Yet we all know this experience in some small way; we get ourselves stuck in routines and habits that can act as shackles. We all refuse to open our eyes to the vision that is before us; too often we select only what we want to see.

The open gate is the opposite to this. It is the invitation to adventure and to grow, the call to be among the living and the vital elements of the world. The open gate is the call to explore new areas of yourself and the world around you. It is the challenge to come and discover that the world and ourselves are filled with mystery and with the glory of God. It is the ever present call to become pilgrims for the love of God, to take part in a romance that will enrich our hearts and our lives.

The open gate is the choice that God is always placing before us. It is a sign of the opportunity that is ours. It is to do with our basic freedom; we can choose to go that way or to ignore it and go along other paths.

We should look upon the open gate as a way to extend ourselves and our vision. Here we can see further and reach beyond where we have been before. It may take a great deal of discipline to get off the old familiar track and to break with old habits, but in return it offers the excitement of new ground and new vistas.

What we have to learn is to recognise when an open gate has been presented to us.

David Adam

May we see the open gates that present themselves in this moment.

May we recognise the opportunities to be quiet, to discover, to grow.

May we use the gift of change aright.

Yours in Christ
Yvonne