Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Forgiveness (III)

Jeremy is in the sanctuary practicing. Moody, wandering music. Good for an afternoon. Too many things pressing. A court appearance tomorrow about a law suit, an unpaid law firm, a bankrupt insurance company. I don’t want to go. Fund raising for the boiler. Too many things coming up this week are things not to look forward to.
RL and Piano Dan come in. Piano Dan has had his piano tuning instruments stolen. We need to find a way to replace them. There’s ongoing piano work to be done here. We’ll figure it out.  
Back to the church after a busy morning. Court...well, it’s adjourned until mid-December.  Then a long meeting with clergy colleagues on ecclesiastical law and marriage equality. West-Park’s long history makes my situation simple...we don't dance around holy unions  or any other equivocal language, we perform marriages between two people. 
Danielle is having  a conversation with Martin Santangelo, from Spain, but living across the street in the Belnord. Medium long graying hair, one might say strikingly handsome. He’s a flamencero, the director of Noche Flamenco.  He’s looking for a home for his company. But more than that, now that his family is here, he would like to be part of  a community. I explain to him what the Center is all about.  He smiles. This is what he’d love to be doing, intentional collaboation with other  artists, children, people willing to explore wonder and the human spirit as Katherine says. We immediately feel this would be a good addition to our community.
Jane breezes by as we are talking. Her office is being put together. A home is being made.
Tonight is our third night of Forgiveness. Again, the sanctuary has that warm, intimate, evening glow to it. Even though it’s getting colder. And tonight’s circle is almost double last week’s. We’ve been joinedby two students, two older women, a life long peace activist and (fistbump) John from Sunday mornings and others. 
Eleanor leads us in a reflection and then we divide up into pairs.  A lot of intereesting questions come up. Is forgiveness necessary? What is the difference between forgiveness and acceptance of what we cannot change? The role of anger in moving towards forgiveness? How do you forgive when the hurting behavior continues? (I once heard it said that the true sign that you are forgiven is that you don't do it anymore.) At least two people say that sometimes, it’s not even a process. Sometimes it just happens.
We revisit the tragic murder of the Amish children. There is a question as to what price that forgiveness cost the peole in their personal and communal  emotional health. But I recall our clergy group discussion where we thought that maybe hanging on to this central core of their culture was the only way they could get through such unspeakable tragedy. . And we ponder cultural differences in the experience of dealing with evil. 
And we talk about evil itself. How it seems to have an existence, a reality of it's own, but that it is lived out by human beings, just like us. That if you can demonize a person, a people, then anything can  happen.  Dehumanization needed in every war: Huns, Japs, gooks, diaperheads....
Our activist says that sooner or later, discussion of evil has to come around to the Holocaust. A psychologist raises the issue of God as the first perpetrator of geoncide, in the flood.And I raise the theme of conquest in the Jonah conquest of the Promised Land. No land without a people for a people without a land. Not then. Not ever. Someone’s always there when you get there. And then that weird parable of Jesus in Matthew:
The king throws a party. No one comes. He sends out his servants. Who get killed . So the king lays waste to the city and those who killed his srvants. In the midst of the still smoking rubble, he invites whoever’s left.  Who not surprisingly, come. And then the poor guy without a proper wedding garment
is thrown out into the outer darkness where there is wailing and gnashing of teeth .
And then the whole forgiveness without limits thing. Jesus 70 x 7. Is it  487, 488, 489, 490....ok, now you're gonna get it, here I come?
The psychologist wants to share a paper she wrote on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict that got her ostracized. I’ll be happy to read it.

So much to say. Glad we’ll be back next week. And yes, there has been the feeling of holy space around this. 

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