Tag Archives: forgiveness

Transfigured

Linda McCray
Transfiguration
acrylic & sand from the River Jordan on floating wood panel

The outward transfiguration of Jesus calls me to an inward transfiguration that leads me to listen more carefully to God’s Word.

Perhaps my most difficult daily challenge is to hear and carry out Jesus’ command to love each member of the human family—my neighbor. To be an authentic follower of Jesus, I must practice forgiveness, reconciliation, compassion, and nonviolence towards all people, not just those who please me.

Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over [Peter, James, and John]; from the cloud came a voice, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” Mark 9:7

Temptation

This is my temptation: to let the violence, tragedies, and selfishness in the world frighten me so that I forget my birthright as a beloved child of God and become distracted from participating in God’s work of reconciliation, forgiveness, and compassion. I am tempted to believe my small efforts to pray, be kind, and comfort the suffering are not a part of the solution to the world’s problems.

Along with the wild beasts and demons in my desert today, there are also angels to care for me. I need not make an idol of fear. I am reassured that I have a part to play in making God’s vision of love and unity a reality.

The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan. He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him. Mark 1:12

Clean and whole

Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669)
Jesus heals a leper
Pen and ink drawing, c. 1650-1655
Amsterdam, Rijksprentenkabinet

So much conspires to tell me I am an outcast in this society: unemployment, chronic headaches, overwhelming fatigue, and the ever-accelerating pace and stress of modern life when what I crave is time—time to go slowly, to rest, listen, and discern God’s will for me.

When I become aware that I am feeling ashamed of who I am, I pray to be reunited with the unconditional love and compassion that is my birthright. The Lord is always willing to touch me and make me whole again.

A leper came to Jesus and kneeling down begged him and said, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched him, and said to him, “I do will it. Be made clean.”

Wisdom’s Way

I perceive the resplendence of wisdom when I stay aware of and act on opportunities to love my neighbor, forgive those who have hurt me, take responsibility for my words and actions, give food to the hungry, visit the sick and lonely, seek peaceful resolutions to conflict.

I find wisdom in my own loneliness, in my realization of my need for God’s guidance, comfort, and boundless love as I continue to make mistakes on the Way to perfection.

Resplendent and unfading is wisdom,
and she is readily perceived by those who love her,
and found by those who seek her. Wisdom 6:12

Pay it forward

James Tissot (1836-1902)
Le denier de César
opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper, between 1886 and 1894
Brooklyn Museum

Love. Compassion. Kindness. Mercy. Forgiveness. Welcome. Comfort. Peace.

These belong to God. May I repay them to God by extending them to everyone I encounter.

[Jesus said to them,] “Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.” Matthew 22: 21

Nonviolence

James Tissot (1836-1902)
Le fils de la vigne
opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper, between 1886 and 1894
Brooklyn Museum

Negativity. Pessimism. Put-downs. Sarcasm. Hostility. These are forms of violence that tackle me daily in the news, on the Internet, at the workplace, and sometimes from my own attitudes and behaviors.

My defense against the darkness of violence is to put my thoughts on God’s boundless love and wisdom, and to practice bringing the light of gratitude, kindness, forgiveness, and compassion to every circumstance in which I find myself.

Thank you, Lord, for being with me right now, in this moment. Help me to walk in the light of your love. Show me how to be a nonviolent presence in our troubled world.

Finally, sisters and brothers,
whatever is true, whatever is honorable,
whatever is just, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious,
if there is any excellence
and if there is anything worthy of praise,
think about these things. Phillipians 4:8

Never too late to change

My first response is not always generosity to the poor. It is not always welcome to  someone I don’t know. Or forgiveness to someone who has hurt me. Or respect to someone who treats me with disdain.

But I always have the option to change my attitude and behavior. I can choose the way of love and kindness instead of the way of self-centeredness and resentment.

Jesus said to the chief priests and elders of the people: “What is your opinion? A man had two sons. He came to the first and said, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’ He said in reply, ‘I will not, ‘ but afterwards changed his mind and went. Matthew 21:28-29