The Rev. Dr. Ozzie Smith reflects on this week's sermon, "Folding Screens and Forgiveness," by the Rev. Benjamin Anthony.
Rev. Anthony delivers a potent message on the intractability of forgiveness and the myriad ways we "screen it off" in the interest of denial.
I read recently that Jesus' peace also involves Jesus' wounds. When the Christ entered that locked room saying "peace unto you," it was not without scars and nailed-pierced hands. Forgiveness is hard work!!!
Rev. Anthony artfully names the various forms of denial we use in order to not "need" to forgive--screens allow us to "screen." Dr. James Cone once said, "The cross is a symbol of success by way of failure." It is the failure of humanity's serial violence to handle the truth of radical forgiveness that cannot eradicate the success and victory of the cross. The cross stands intractable and concrete as the symbol of radical forgiveness. The success is that the threat of death could not stop Jesus from saving us! The political scurrying and screen-folding that happens cannot ignore or escape Jesus' words, "Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing."
Rev. Anthony's language is masterful in calling for attention to the intractable and concrete nature of forgiveness. In order for forgiveness to be concretely realized, screens must come down. Forgiveness acknowledges the wounds as well as the way to move beyond them.
Thanks, Rev. Anthony, for a thoughtful and provoking WORD. Thanks Day1 for the lift!
--Dr. Ozzie Smith
Another response from the Rev. Dr. Billy Cox:
The probing and insightful sermon by Chaplain Anthony reminds me somewhat of the saying, in the long run, carrying a grudge does more harm to the one who is carrying it, than to the would-be recipient of the grudge. Forgiveness may be a bitter pill to swallow, but it is often the necessary medicine which cleanses the soul, healing and satisfying that which ails us. Most of us know what it means to seek for forgiveness and to forgive.
--Dr. Billy Joe Cox