By Joann Condit of Phoenix, AZ, USA
Be merciful, just as your God is merciful. “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you.” —Luke 6:36–37 NRSV, adapted
On the night of November 14, 1940, on Hitler’s orders, the Luftwaffe Air Force flattened Coventry Cathedral in England. Hit by several bombs, the historic cathedral burned with the city.
Shortly after the devastation, the cathedral stonemason, Jack Forbes, noticed that two of the charred, medieval roof timbers had fallen in the shape of a cross. He propped them up in the ruins and later placed them on an altar of rubble. Above them, he inscribed the moving words, “Father, Forgive.”
The morning after its destruction, the people decided to rebuild Coventry. It was not an act of defiance, but rather a sign of faith, trust, and hope for the future of England—and the world. This inspired vision of the provost, Richard Howard, led the people of Coventry away from feelings of bitterness and hatred. The Cathedral’s Ministry of Peace and Reconciliation continues to provide spiritual and practical support in areas of conflict throughout the world.
If the people of Coventry could forgive on such a grand scale, should we not be able to forgive the small slights, the differences of opinion, the hurts we hug to ourselves? All we need to do is keep our eyes on the cross.
Prayer for Peace
Forgiving God, we will always be in need of your unconditional love. May that love inspire us to forgive others and find peace.
Spiritual Practice: Healing and Reconciliation
Gather a small mound of stones. Meditate on the stones as symbols of differences and destructive acts that continue to separate and wound the human family. Name and anoint each “stone wound” with a drop of water or scented oil. Offer them to God in a prayer for healing and reconciliation.
Today, God, when I am challenged to forgive, I will look to the teachings of Christ.