Archive for February, 2007

The Last Seven Words from the Cross: Forgive

Wednesday, February 28th, 2007

Today’s scripture: Luke 23:32-38; Psalm 22 (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Tammy Mills):

Forgive by Huub BogaersEvery Wednesday during Lent our Be Stills will focus on the last words of Jesus from the cross. Someone’s dying words can be very powerful. I will always remember my Grandpa Parker’s last words to me. He told me, “Tam, be yourself. Life is too short to do anything other.” I have taken those words to heart and have tried to live them out in my life. As we look at Jesus’ last words I hope we can take them to heart and let them transform our lives.

One of the coolest things I have learned, in recent years of study, is that the last words from the cross seem to come from Psalm 22. It seems that while Jesus was hanging on the cross, he was praying the Psalms. That tells me that the Psalms must have been really impressed upon Jesus’ heart. The Psalms he had learned in “Sunday School” and at his mother and father’s feet had become a part of his spiritual DNA. When he was in such agony as to not even be able to really form thought, what poured from his heart were the Psalms. This really challenges me to do more than just memorize or study the Sacred Text. I’m challenged to really write the text on my heart.

The word for today, forgive, is a touchy one. How could Jesus even think of forgiving those who were treating him so horrifically and so unjustly? I can’t even forgive the drive up person for not getting my extra value meal right. For years I struggled with the notion of forgiveness, because frankly, there are situations and people in my life that I feel in no way deserved forgiveness!

What I am coming to believe is that forgiveness isn’t about people or situations. It isn’t about saying that what they did was right. Forgiveness is about me. It is about healing my heart so that I don’t trudge through life always holding on to such hate.

Forgiveness is really a gift I give myself. The contemporary artist, Huub Bogaers, has created a painting for each of the last words form the cross. The one for forgive really speaks to me. It is an open hand. Forgiveness for me is about letting go so that I can really embrace and live in the here and now! My favorite theologian (Oprah) says, “Forgiving is letting go of the idea that the past could have been any different.”

Thought for the day: As we think about Jesus last words, “Father forgive them”, let’s think about the role forgiveness plays in our life journeys.

Today, let’s join together in prayer for: folks in our congregation who are dealing with serious physical challenges: Erik, Caroline and Heather, Ray, Dawn, Buddy, and Greg.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. Use the item above as a starting point, or consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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