By Robert E. Parker (1924–2004, submitted by Kent Parker)
For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross. —Colossians 1:19–20 NRSV
Forgive him? Not me, Lord!
After all, he knew better!
Every time I consider his actions
and speech toward our children,
anger rises like a flood within me
I turn away from him—
away and unaware of his pain-filled eyes,
cast down, as though searching Earth
for some measure of strength.
Yet self-doubt lingers in
the innermost rooms of my soul
And the disturbing question—
Why? Why did I reject him?
God loves him as much as me.
Slowly, my mind turns corners
and, rebellious though I am,
an image arises of pleading eyes,
of outstretched nail-pierced hands
and a gentle voice saying—
Many times, my child, have I heard
the prayers for you and yours.
Since I have forgiven you,
can you do less for your brother?
And so, in pain-wracked moments
when I examine my own lack,
my search reveals a dependence
on one against whom I built a wall.
Oh, God, find a chink in my armor
for your Spirit to enter, live, and grow,
that the process of peace may begin,
that he and I may be as brothers,
each dependent on the other.
Prayer for Peace
God of unconditional love, remove the conditions we employ. Remove our blinders to the pain of others. Remove our hesitation to begin the process of peace and understanding.
Find a way to express and embody God’s shalom. Begin by prayerfully listening to your longing for peace and wholeness. Become silent and imagine you can hear the groaning of the Earth’s people, nations, and creatures. Prayerfully open yourself to God’s yearning for peace and the divine vision of shalom.
Today, God, when I am tempted to stop at self-righteousness, help me remember how you first loved me…and I will turn the corner and continue the process of healing.