Today Nouwen speaks again of prayer in the form of meditation: being still and silent to listen for God. In doing this, I find myself returning over and over again to the concept of forgiveness, a concept I have been studying for several years. Last night I listened to a man who had almost disdain for the word itself because he perceived it to be something trite and perhaps ineffective. He spoke of how easily people throw out the words I’m Sorry, whether or not they have any intention of changing. He mentioned how we even apologize when we run into something like a chair.
I understood his point, but his words left me feeling sad for him because I sensed he was so distracted by forgiveness in the trite sense, that he was not able to embrace its depth in its truest form.
As part of a sermon series on Forgiveness that I am giving at First English on Wednesdays during Lent, I’ve been reading stories about forgiveness that leave me shaken, humbled, and in awe of those who have found it within themselves to forgive the unspeakable. During this prayerful season, I encourage you to join me in learning more about forgiveness at www.theforgivenessproject.com
This afternoon I’ll be talking to Louisa about possibly hosting an art exhibit from The Forgiveness Project at our church this summer. I believe there is much we need to learn about forgiveness, and much we stand to gain by doing so. The very notion of what some people have risked to forgive others leaves me…speechless. And I return to the silence of which Nouwen speaks once again.
“The F Word: Images of Forgiveness exhibition is a thought-provoking collection of arresting images and personal narratives exploring forgiveness in the face of atrocity. First launched in London in 2004, it has since been displayed in over 300 venues worldwide. Drawing together voices from South Africa, America, Israel, Palestine, Northern Ireland and England, the exhibition examines forgiveness as a healing process, a journey out of victimhood and, ultimately, a journey of hope.”