Southpoint News September 22, 2017
Forgiveness: The Gift of a New Beginning
It is impossible to live in any kind of community with another human being – marriage, family, neighbourhood, work, institutional connections, community – without having infractions that hurt one another. If we don’t learn the art of forgiveness, it’s pretty hard to have community. Until this week, I thought I was pretty good at this whole forgiving thing. However, during the silence of our group lectio divina on Matthew 18:21-35, God began to introduce me to some hard spots in my heart. I began to bump up against all sorts of hard edges where someone had failed to be or do what I needed or wanted them to be or do. They had hurt me or damaged something or someone important to me. I had not worked these hurts through, and they were very much present inside of me. Maybe I had not ACTIVELY taken vengeance on the perpetrators of my pain. However, I realized I had built a wall inside me and stuck them on the other side of that wall. “Okay – you are snarky and judgmental – I banish you to the side of the wall.” “Okay – you marginalize people I love – over the wall you go.” And so on. After banishing them to a safe distance, I realized how easy it is to project a lot of gnarly stuff into the space between us. It became apparent in the silence that by doing this, I had closed off a portion of my heart. I could literally FEEL how my heart was heavy from all these walls, and how they prevented me from experiencing the paradoxical goodness within these people and within the world around me. This week, I have been allowing the Holy Spirit into these wounds and asking for a shift in my heart orientation. Instead of putting negative stuff into the space between me and these people, I am imagining filling the space with compassion, grace, accepting this person’s inability to be what I need or want them to be. I am not yet trying to close the space between us, just tending the space in between us with good will rather than anger. When I do so, I have experienced a shifting within me, a lightening in my being. As I realize my need to forgive, I also realize my need for forgiveness. “Be patient with me.” I don’t know about you, but I could say these words almost every day. Be patient with me. I’m still figuring out how to be human. I’m still figuring out how to be a mom, a pastor, a spouse, a daughter, a neighbour, a friend. My capacities are limited. Be patient with me.
“I forgive you.” I don’t know about you, but I could hear these words every day, too. These words breathe new life into us, letting us know it is okay to be human, to be messy and incomplete, in process, and flawed. “I forgive you.” These two phrases are powerful. They honour our shared humanity – our beautiful, flawed, broken messy, gorgeous humanity. They also let us be ourselves – our still growing, still imperfect, fumbling, bumbling yet beautiful selves. They are rooted in abundance – even when I don’t get things right, and even when you don’t get things right, our well-being is resilient, rooted in an abundance deeper than ourselves. “The world of forgiveness is the world of new and expanding possibilities. Very often people are afraid to forgive because they assume that if they forgive, injustice will triumph. Yet the counter-intuitve wisdom of Christ reveals that the very opposite is true. It is forgiveness alone that has the capacity to break the chains of injustice and give us the possibility of a new future – a future unchained from the past and free of bitterness.”
Colin Tipping, writing in Radical Forgiveness
Pastor Anne Smith
Change in Service Time
We are communicating with the UCC church about a change in our start time. UCC has offered to rent their space from 12:30 p.m. onward to another church, so we have asked for a 10:00 a.m. start time, leaving us ample time to linger, and also not have too early a start. Once we have the go-ahead on making this change, we will create a firm timeline to implement it. For those of you with small children, I share your joy that the season of missed naps and late lunches are over! For those of you with teenagers, I share your challenge in getting them out of bed:) The changes through the years of worship space and time have certainly taught us to be flexible, adaptable, and sensitive to the varied needs of our members. Thank you for once again being a fantastic community.
Tuesday Lectio Divina
This week we had our first lectio divina group around this week’s lectionary reading. The Word’s out and some THIRDSPACE / community folk might be joining us. We’d love to have you there if it fits into your life!
Anne’s office is now in THIRDSPACE, a community project of the Peninsula UCC church at #1 – 1381 George Street. ThirdSpace is a safe space in the community – welcoming, accepting engaging – a community hub where friendship grows. See below for events happening in the Third Space. Help spread the word. You are more than welcome!
Drop-In Cafe: Wed & Fri, 9:30 am – 12:00 pm
Sit & Stitch: Tues, 7:00 – 8:30 pm
Death Cafe First Thursday, 7:00 – 8:30 pm
Forgiveness Film 7:00 pm Wed. 27th. **This is the second part of a 2-part documentary
Ongoing: Lectio Divina with the Lectionary Tuesdays at 9:00 am at Third Space
Leadership Team meeting 7:00 pm, Tues. 10th
+13 Youth Small Group 6:00-8:00 pm, Fri.13 & 27th
Lectio workshop at Kingfisher Farm 7:30 pm, Tues. 24th Child/family friendly
+13 Youth Small Group 6:00-8:00 pm, Fri. 10 & 24th
Leadership Team meeting 7:00 pm, Tues. 14th
Lectio workshop at Kingfisher Farm 7:30 pm, Tues. 21st