Forgiveness and reconciliation
I'm working on a sermon that references echoes and this text sitting on my desk to type up for the blog as needed jumped out with a reference to an echo. It deals with the theme differently, but I want to share this from Miroslav Volf's book Free of Charge now anyway as I circle back around on the theme of echoes...
In the archives are the religion column Forgive Others and Unlock Your Heart and an issue of our church's bathroom newsletter, The Toilet Paper which dealt with forgiveness.
All our forgiving is inescapably incomplete. That's why it's so crucial to see our forgiving not simply as our own act, but as participating in God's forgiving. Our forgiving is faulty; God's faultless. Our forgiving is provisional; God's is final. We forgive tenuously and tentatively; God forgives unhesitatingly and definitely. As we forgive, we always wrong the offender by inadequate judgment and pride; God forgives with justice and genuine love.
The only way we dare forgive is by making our forgiving trasparent to God's and always open to revision. After all, our forgiveness is only possible as an echo of God's. In the here and now, that echo is distorted, but it is inescapably distorted. One day the distortion will be removed.
The Apostle Paul wrote that one day we will all "appear before the judgment seat of Christ." The day of judgment stands as the boundary between transitoriness andeverlasting life, between this world of sin and the coming world of love. Mostly we think that at the judgment day we'll receive "recompense for what has been done in the body, whether good or evil," as the Apostle said.
But Christ's judgment is also a judgment of grace. As a result, we'll be transformed and fully reconciled with God and one another. That's how it must be. Otherwise judgment could not be what faith claims it is—the door to the world of love.
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church