Daily Office Readings for Thursday after the First Sunday of Lent: Year 2
“Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, “Your sins are forgiven”, or to say, “Stand up and take your mat and walk”? (Mark 2: 9)
Even today, in most cases, medical science is not able to restore nerve tissue that would enable a paralyzed person to walk again when that nerve has been severed. So forgiving others, while not impossible, is the easier of the two.
Forgiveness can be taught in the family but often a household will tend to see the incident the same way as their offending member reports it, thus making forgiveness hard to come by. Forgiveness can be hard to come by internationally also. Sometimes cruelty can paralyze even nations who are crippled by their own ideas of what they think is “rightfully” theirs as in the Russia, Ukraine war.
Maybe forgiveness begins in the church with corporate pardon. The classic example of this is the Amish community of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and the milk truck driver attacking their school house. On 2 October 2006, 10 Amish girls were shot in their school house by Charles Carl Roberts IV who took hostages and shot eight out of ten girls (aged 6–13), killing five, before committing suicide in the schoolhouse.
Five died and five survived – and their families immediately bestowed their forgiveness.” (https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/oct/02/amish-shooting) Also, On the day of the shooting, a grandfather of one of the murdered Amish girls was heard warning some young relatives not to hate the killer, saying, “We must not think evil of this man.” Another Amish father noted, “He had a mother and a wife and a soul and now he’s standing before a just God.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Nickel_Mines_School_shooting) The point is, this Amish community is a Church that really practices what it means to forgive for healing.
We should practice forgiveness individually, nationally and internationally. Perhaps it starts in our spiritual families. The continual reading, studying, discussing and, above all, praying and practicing, forgiveness, will help all of us to at least look at the healing power of forgiveness. I pray that Russian leaders find it in their hearts to turn from their ways of cruelty and ask for forgiveness.
Maybe forgiveness of self and others is the first step to nerve regeneration. Maybe, just maybe, our Lord Jesus had it right all along, “Your sins are forgiven, stand up and take your mat and walk”? I would love to see Russian troops take up their mats and return home. Please, Lord Jesus.
As we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us, let us live to love, to serve, and to teach, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John