Tag Archives: Forgiveness


EmanuelPosterOn the fourth anniversary of the horrific, terrorist attack at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston by an avowed white supremacist, I had the opportunity to view a new documentary Emanuel.

The event shattered lives and rocked Charleston and the nation. Emanuel powerfully weaves the history of race relations in Charleston, the significance and impact of Mother Emanuel Church, and the hope that somehow emerges in the aftermath.

Featuring intimate interviews with survivors and family members, Emanuel tells a poignant story of justice and faith, love and hate, and examines the healing power of forgiveness.

Emanuel is playing in theaters across the country for two nights – June 17 (tonight) and June 19 (Wednesday). See if it is playing near you and check it out.

Clementa Pinckney
Tywanza Sanders
Daniel Simmons
Sharonda Singleton 
Myra Thompson
Cynthia Hurd
Suzie Jackson
Ethel Lance
DePayne Middleton-Doctor

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Filed under Antiracism, Current Events, Movie, New York

Lent 2017, day 5


lenten-reflections-on-the-confession-of-belhar“We are blessed saints by God. Bound in God’s grace, we live within God’s mercy. In God’s mercy, we need to build up instead of tear down. We show God’s mercy to each other through forgiveness. Lent reminds us of the important role forgiveness plays in unity. To forgive others is crucial in situations of conflict, as is accepting forgiveness offered to us. Mercy and forgiveness are essential.”
Grace Ji-Sun Kim
Lenten Reflections on the Confession of Belhar

May I have the courage to forgive others; the grace to accept forgiveness; and the mercy to forgive myself.

This Lenten season I am using a new resource to explore the Belhar Confession: Lenten Reflections on the Confession of Belhar, edited by Kerri N. Allen and Donald K. McKim. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), in which I serve as a teaching elder (pastor), added the Confession of Belhar to our Book of Confessions in 2016. This confession came from the Dutch Reformed Mission Church during its historic struggle against apartheid in South Africa.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Antiracism, Books, Lent, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Uncategorized

Farewell, Mr. Mandela

Farewell, Mr. Mandela,

We never met. I never laid eyes on you in person.

But I saw and heard you on television. I read words about you. And I read your words.


steadfast pursuit of justice
enduring commitment to the people – all the people – of South Africa
understanding of the possibilities opened by forgiveness
willingness to look beyond what is to what could be

touched and awed and inspired me
and countless others.

I give thanks for you,
for your life, and
for your work.

I give thanks that,
though half a world lay between us
we shared life on this
little brown, green, blue rock.

I pray for your family
for you friends and colleagues
for the people of South Africa
for weavers of dreams
and workers for justice
who grieve at your death.

May we know comfort as we mourn.

May we have strength to join you in the struggle for freedom, justice, and dignity for all God’s children.

May we experience your presence accompanying us in that struggle.

Farewell, Mr. Mandela, farewell.

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Filed under Antiracism, Current Events, Human Rights


A Facebook friend posed the following questions:

Wondering how many people who are seeing the Les Mis movie never saw the show on stage? (How many people over the age of 30 never saw the show on stage?)

I have seen neither. Some in my family and many of my friends have seen both. As a family we saw a couple of movies over Christmas but not this one.

That may change.

Some time back, I viewed the movie version with Liam Neeson and Geoffrey Rush. Since returning to New York, the buzz for the current film has led me to check out other versions starting with the 1935 movie starring Frederic March and Charles Laughton. Can a trip to the theater be far behind?

Victor Hugo’s story remains compelling. It is also contemporary – the themes of the tale remain with us to this day. And it is theological covering grace and forgiveness and redemption and understandings of justice.

Today’s viewing of a 1978 made-for-TV movie with Robert Jordan and Anthony Perkins reminded me of that. It also contained a piece of dialogue I had not heard before and that will stay with me for a while.

The movie concludes with a scene at the wedding of Cosette and Marius. Gillenormand, Marius’ estranged grandfather appears at the end of the service and greets the radiant couple in a tender moment .

The couple leaves the church and Gillenormand and Valjean speak:

Gillenormand: “I’ve been a fool.”
Valjean: “Oh sir. We’re all fools for most of our lives. It’s unavoidable.”

I do not judge anyone else. But Valjean’s words work for me. They truly work for me.

Now I find myself thinking that, not only is it unavoidable that I am a fool much of the time, perhaps a trip to see the film and the stage production and maybe even time to read the book (the full version not the comic book version I remember as a child nor the abridged version from college) have also become unavoidable.

Perhaps I will see you at the barricades.

Certainly I will … see you along the Trail.


Filed under Family, Movie, Music

The Timing of Forgiveness

Forgiveness can come too soon.

Forgiveness can come too late.

May I have wisdom to time forgiveness well.

With thanks to Donald Shriver for this observation made in the film
Forgiveness: A Time to Love and a Time to Hate

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Friends, Movie