Monday, September 12, 2011

Today... Life on 9/11/2011

Yesterday's lectionary texts all centered around the idea of forgiveness.

On the 10th anniversary of the darkest day America has seen in my lifetime.

For weeks I had been dreading the 10th anniversary.  More specifically, I had been dreading the wall-to-wall media coverage of it.

"We will never forget" has been the refrain, almost from the very moment it happened, it seems.  And I have always fled from that refrain, felt uncomfortable about it, and indeed, dreaded seeing it and hearing it over and over and over during the run-up to the 10-year mark of the tragedy.

It wasn't until Greg and I sat discussing the lectionary passage from Matthew yesterday morning that I finally understood my discomfort.

I believe that, most of the time, "We will never forget" really means "We will never forgive."  And Americans who don't claim to follow Christ are free to make good on that promise.  But as Christians, we are commanded, over and over again, to forgive.  Many times, our own forgiveness from God is linked with our forgiveness of others.

We will never forget that day.  Of course; we can't.  Trauma has a way of burning itself into our memories, into our very psyches.  We couldn't forget if we wanted to.  But we must forgive, as Christ commands.  And the constant refrain of "never forget" doesn't seem like an attempt at forgiveness to me.

Much like the Christians who crowed with victory at the news of bin Laden's murder.

Much like the Christians who gave the death penalty a standing ovation at a Rick Perry speech earlier this month.

Much like the way I can't forgive my mother.  My father.  My step-father.  Myself.

That's the tricky thing about forgiveness, you see.  We can forgive, but we can't forget.  So every time we remember, we have to forgive again, and again, and again until it becomes a part of us.

It's a long road.  May the Savior who forgives us walk it with us, again and again.

1 comment:

  1. Tom's comments were about Simon Wiesenthal and the other lady who was molested were very striking to me. I though about some of the situations in my past and they are not near as bad as Tom's examples... and yet I hold on to them too to an extent that I'm sure the Lord doesn't want us to do.