Forgiveness doesn’t change the past, but it releases us from the power of the past. Forgiveness doesn’t rewrite history. But it prevents our histories from asphyxiating us. Fundamentally, forgiveness transforms our past from an enemy to a friend, from a horror-show of shame to a storehouse of wisdom. In the absence of forgiveness we’re isolated from our past, trying pitifully to bury or deny or forget or destroy the many things that haunt and overshadow and plague and torment us. Forgiveness doesn’t change these things, but it does change their relationship to us. No longer do they imprison us or pursue us or surround us or stalk us. Now they accompany us, deepen us, teach us, train us. No longer do we hate them or curse them or resent them or begrudge them. Now we find acceptance, understanding, enrichment, even gratitude for them. That’s the work of forgiveness. It’s about the transformation of the prison of the past.
Sam Wells from his Easter Day Sermon 2013
In my own life, as winters turn into spring, I find it not only hard to cope with mud but also hard to credit the small harbingers of larger life to come, hard to hope until the outcome is secure. Spring teaches me to look more carefully for the green stems of possibility; for the intuitive hunch that may turn into a larger insight, for the glance or touch that may thaw a frozen relationship, for the stranger’s act of kindness that makes the world seem hospitable again.
Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak
It is not revolutions and upheavals
that clear the road to new and better days,
but revelations, lavishness and torments
of someone’s soul, inspired and ablaze.
Boris Pasternak, “After the Storm”, 1958, quoted by Meg Wheatley in Finding our Way: Leadership for an uncertain time
“Though I speak with the tongues of humans and angels, and even have interactive Applets embedded in my PowerPoints, but have not pedagogy, I am become as sounding brass and a clanging cymbal”
Steve Delamarter et al Teaching Theology and Religion, 2007, vol 10 no.2, pp. 64-79
Our brokenness is often so frightening to face because we live it under the curse………….
The great spiritual call of the Beloved Children of God is to pull their brokenness away from the shadow of the curse and put it under the light of the blessing…….
When we keep listening attentively to the voice calling us the Beloved, it becomes possible to live our brokenness, not as a confirmation of our fear that we are worthless, but as an opportunity to purify and deepen the blessing that rests upon us. Physical, mental or emotional pain lived under the blessing is experienced in ways radically different from physical, mental or emotional pain lived under the curse. Even a small burden, perceived as a sign of our worthlessness, can lead us to deep depression – even suicide. However, great and heavy burdens become light and easy when they are lived in the light of the blessing. What seemed intolerable becomes a challenge. What seemed a reason for depression becomes a a source of purification. What seemed punishment becomes a gentle pruning. What seemd rejection becomes a way to deeper communion.
Henri Nouwen – Life of the Beloved p 97f
You and I used to fancy ourselves as birds, and we were very happy even when we flapped our wings and fell down and bruised ourselves, but the truth is that we were birds without wings. You were a robin and I was a blackbird, and there were some who were eagles, or vultures, or pretty goldfinches, but none of us had wings.
For birds with wings nothing changes; they fly where they will and they know nothing about borders and their quarrels are very small.
But we are always confined to earth, no matter how much we climb to the high places and flap our arms. Because we cannot fly, we are condemned to do things that do not agree with us. Because we have no wings we are pushed into struggles and abominations that we did not seek.
conclusion of Birds without Wings by Louis de Bernieres
>One hat I wear is supoporting “ministry review” – very different from “appraisal” which appraises past perfromance. Ministry review is so future orientated that they’ve decided to put a capital D between the words Ministry and Review to emphasise that it is a developmental tool. I came across this quote when reading the excitingly tilted “Ministry Development Review: Interim Guidance” from the United Church of America (as opposed I suppose to the other churches of America which aren’t united). Here’s the quote:
Evaluation is natural to the human experience.
Evaluation is one of God’s ways of bringing the history of the past into dialogue with the hope for the future.
Without confession of sin there is no reconciliation;
without the counting of blessings there is no thanksgiving;
without the acknowledgement of accomplishments there is no celebration;
without awareness of potential there is no hope; without hope there is no desire for growth;
without desire for growth the past will dwarf the future.