“ …. he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. Again Jesus said, ‘Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.’ And with that he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.’” (John 20:20-23 NIVUK)
Peace, Scars, Breath of Forgiveness
On a recent walk, Jesus’ words “Forgive them, Father, they don’t know what they are doing,” created the rhythm for my steps. While they hammered nails, jeered and questioned his identity Jesus breathed forgiveness on his perpetrators. This great mystery has stayed with me through the Easter season.
Among his first breaths after rising from the dead was a Spirit-empowering commission for his followers to do the same. He declared “peace” in the face of fear, showed his scars to show the cost of forgiveness and boldly challenged one and all to breathe the same way.
The lives lost on a highway in Saskatchewan, as well as at the border of Israel and in gas attacks in Syria remind us today of the pain in the world. Peace, faith and forgiveness are powerful breaths from God enabling us to respond with care and compassion in the face of the brokenness of the world.
A Prayer for Today
Father, Son and Holy Spirit you entered time in Jesus. Thank you for his life then and now, for his sacrificial death and his rising to life breathing forgiveness. Even for a perpetrator such as me forgiveness is offered in mysterious power. Grant us peace to offer our scars in service to you and offer to one another the peace we find and the forgiveness we have experienced. …. For Jesus’ sake
Noteworthy: If you’d like a terrific read every couple of weeks my good friend Ron Nikkel draws on his years of prison ministry around the world to offer deep reflections on the love of God in these beautifully written articles entitled “Coracle”. Here’s a link.