Forgiveness

19Feb13

He shall judge between many peoples, and shall arbitrate between strong nations far away; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more; but they shall all sit under their own vines and under their own fig trees, and no one shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken. (Micah 4:3-4)

This week I have been in Puerto Rico for the Commissioning of Pedro Carlo and Amelia Casillas, who will continue our work as consultants to the Round Table for Mission Development in Argentina and Paraguay. I congratulate them on this exciting new call and thank them for their service.

Pedro_y_amelia

Reverend Amelia Casillas is commissioned along with her husband Pedro Carlo to be missionaries in Argentina and Paraguay, continuing the work that we were doing.

Forgiveness strikes me as an appropriate theme to discuss as we enter into Lent, and as I learn more and more about the U.S. history of imperialism in Puerto Rico. Also, in several conversations with Pedro and Amelia, the theme of historical wounds and forgiveness has arisen for us with respect to the War of the Triple Alliance when Paraguay fought against Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay.

path_towards_mountain

The mountains before us at Torres de Paine national park, Chile.

My first observation is that those of us who have been wounded often need to take the initiative in our own healing process. This healing will often (but not always) include forgiving the person who offended or harmed us. It will often (but not always) include reconciliation. Yet we cannot always wait for the person or persons who harmed us to come and apologize. It is my prayer that through our own healing, we may become more aware of the ways in which we have offended or harmed other people, that we might change our ways to be better neighbors.

blue_butterfly_2

A butterfly at Iguazu Falls.

Another observation is that somehow all of this applies not just to interpersonal relations but also to national and international relations. The Rev. Alan Boesak recently delivered a lecture entitled “Reconciliation, Justice, and the Spirit of Ubuntu”, in which he challenged conventional understandings of justice to evolve beyond retributive justice, and even restorative justice, to arrive at social justice. Social justice would be the moment when groups as such and nations as such collaborate non-violently for justice in a context of seeking and offering forgiveness. The easiest way to envision this happening is with churches playing a role.

valley_with_daisies

A field with flowers growing around the charred remains of a devastating forest fire in Torres.

So – what are the wounds in your life? What needs forgiveness in your context? How can you be a part of healing this Lent?

 

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