Reflection by Scott Stoner
Our journey of thoughtful self-reflection on the topic of forgiveness these past six and half weeks now leads us to be able to proclaim today:
Alleluia. Christ is risen.
The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia.
Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows set the tone for our journey in her reflection for Ash Wednesday when she invited us to a journey that would lead “to the healing of ourselves and our world that allows resurrection, not evil, to be our defining story.” Trawin Malone then reminded us that the first step of this journey is embracing vulnerability to overcome our natural tendency to protect ourselves.
Mildred Reyes helped us to realize that an essential aspect of forgiveness is being able to forgive ourselves, and Jake Owensby shared his own story of forgiving his father as a way to teach us that forgiveness is always a choice, one that, when we make it, can free us from our hurt and our self-righteousness.
With the help of Bill Miller’s fresh interpretation of the story of the Prodigal Son, we reflected on what it means to practice forgiveness in our families. Micah Jackson discussed how when we are hurt we are tempted to withhold our forgiveness, but that when we can make the choice to forgive, it is always good for the soul.
On Palm Sunday, Vicki Garvey called us to repent the times when we have chosen to stay safely hidden in the crowd and failed to stand up to injustice. Jan Kwiatkowski reminded us that forgiveness is always a process and that sometimes it is a long process, but our willingness to enter into that process is “a good and holy thing.” Through all that we have read and contemplated, we have grown in our understanding that the work of forgiveness is not easy. It often requires letting go and dying to the ego. The benefits for our souls, though, are innumerable as only when we can forgive can we experience the joy of newly resurrected relationships with ourselves, with others, and with God.
The last verse of the Green Blade Rises, one of my favorite Easter hymns, beautifully describes the process of forgiveness and the new life it makes possible.
When our hearts are saddened, grieving, or in pain,
By Your touch You call us back to life again;
Fields of our hearts that dead and bare have been:
Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.
—John M. C. Crum
It has been an honor to provide this resource to you and to help you walk through Lent to Easter. In the name of the One who has risen from the grave this day, may we all know in our hearts and souls that, “Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.”
Follow along with us this Lent season with our daily devotional and engage in discussion in our closed facebook group moderated by The Rev. Dr. Scott Stoner & The Rev. Jan Kwiatowski.
In this group, participants will have a chance to share their responses to the prompts in the daily readings, and also the chance to receive additional material for reflection.