Wednesday, July 9, 2008

forgiveness in time

Today's e-edition of the Christian Science Monitor ran a story about a village in Sierra Leone where one time rebels and their victims met in a ceremony of forgiveness. (go here) The story featured a farmer, Temba Kekura, meeting with a man named Fallah Sikila. It was Sikila who cut off Kekura's arm when he refused to join the rebel army. Sikila has come to apologize for the violence and to ask for forgiveness. The story reminds us of the symbiotic nature of violence -- "...years after the war ended, perpetrators and victims still need each other." The ceremony of forgiveness includes offering a chicken as a sacrifice to their ancestors "as penance for the violence..."

Several things spring to mind from inspirational story:
  1. It's a fine day when the pagan religions serve to remind the "advanced" religions of the West of our calling to reconciliation and forgiveness. We can't even seem to get along with those bearing a different label within the fold, let alone someone from the outside...
  2. To think that it was our soldiers ordered to do the torturing in this present war is rather chilling...
  3. We would do well to remember the Jurgen Moltmann quoted: "The tortured Christ is the brother of the tortured. The resurrected Christ is the judge of the torturer."
  4. If forgiveness is the call of the church, then this calling may have been best typified by how that Amish community in Pennsylvania responded on October 6, 2006 when a gunman murdered 5 of their little girls. 
  5. We would do well to include the absorption of evil as part of counting the cost of following the Christ in this present evil age...
  6. And finally, the Dorothee Sollee quote: "So one can say that God, in the form of this Shekinah, hangs on the gallows at Auschwitz 'for the initial movement towards redemption to come from the world... Redemption does not come from outside or from above. God wants to use people in order to work on the completion of his creation. Precisely, for this reason God must also suffer with the creation.'" (quoted by Moltmann)