Penitence

Forgive Us

Forgive us that often we forgive ourselves
so easily and others so hardly;
Forgive us that we expect perfrection
from those to whom we show none;
Forgive us for repelling people by the
way we set a good example;
Forgive us the folly of trying to
improve a friend;
Forbid that we should use our little
idea of goodness as a spear to
wound those who are different;
Forbid that we should feel superior
to others when we are only more shielded;
And may we encourage the secret
struggle of every person.

- Vivian Pomeroy

From the Gates of Repentance

For the sin of silence, For the sin of indifference, For the secret complicity of the neutral. For the closing of borders, For the washing of hands, For the crime of indifference, For the sin of silence, For the closing of borders. For all that was done, For all that was not done, Let there be no forgetfulness before the Throne of Glory; Let there be remembrance within the human heart; And let there at last be forgiveness When Your children, O God, Are free and at peace.

In Need of Grace

Maybe it's because I came back from my trip to Ithaca exhausted.  After a day of traveling by car and bus and finally metro train, I went directly to church for the last session of Theologies of Liberation.  Maybe it's because I myself am in need of Grace, but the most compelling thing that I remember from the participants' discussions is the feeling of being overwhelmed by the enormity of what is wrong in this world and our complicity.

For those who benefit from systems of oppression, sin is to contribute to the maintenance of these systems both actively and complicitly. For those who suffer under systems of oppression, sin is to accept this without resistance.

I have sinned.  We all have.  And despite our best intentions we will continue to do so.  We realized in that room that we are all in need of Grace.  And someone asked what Grace is.

Grace is forgiveness from sin.  It's the knowing that whatever wrong you've done, you are forgiven, without letting you off the hook for making things right.

Grace is unconditional love.  It's the feeling that whatever and whoever you are, you are loved, without letting you off the hook for being good.

Grace is the lifting of burden.  It's the realization that while you are fully responsible for your part, it's not only up to you to save the world.  Do what yours to do and trust that God/the interdependent web will do the rest.

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