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Tiptoeing into Holy Week...Forgiveness?

This morning, I awoke acutely aware of it being the formal start of Holy Week, traditionally a thin-space time of high intention for me, at least since my California years, 1992ff. Each year has had its particular gifts and challenges, bringing a bit of thermal-core-sample into my awareness, writing, wondering about the mysteries within which we live. This year, here we are again...

The nonsensical (to me) question of this sabbatical time continues to drive me: What freedom is available to women (and other human beings) on the other side of forgiving the divine for centuries of patriarchy? Traditional theological discourse has little room for such an inversion of forgiveness, of course. This whole week is regularly construed as the blood atonement for our sins, the sacrifice of the Son on the cross by the Father, forgiving us all in the death and resurrection of this One. In this paradigm, as in the other five paradigms for Atonement not so engaged in popular imagination, the phrase forgiving the divine is nonsensical. Inverted.

The question has me all the same. Begin with what you know… I hear again.

A circle-community exploration of the wisdom of forgiveness, spring 2022, drew me into this question. I knew I had to forgive some friends for hurting me in institutional guise(s), even as I suspected I needed to be forgiven too. Awareness grew that my theological tradition and I actually don’t know that much about forgiveness, the experience of it, the dynamics within and beyond us. It’s easier to read scripture, digest its interpretive history, and repeat the patterns, which is what egghead Presbyterians do. To actually forgive, be forgiven, unto freedom? Not as lived-out-loud, at least for the white Protestant circles I know.

And yet Spirit opened up a whole stream of writing and releasing in me, giving me just a taste of the freedom that comes somehow, mysteriously, when we forgive, re-enter a unity we felt had become unavailable to us. What if Godde never actually left me on my “days in the weeds” in 2014? What if this journey into the divine required that regression-unto-transcendence, which Spirit waited on until I was strong enough to withstand it? Was this taste my own forgiving the divine?

What I know is that the irrepressible rage I have known most of my life transformed into an overwhelming sense of freedom, peace–momentary but viscerally memorable even today. The rage was borne in me as I avoided being identified as a girl or woman, so to be seen and affirmed in my family, therefore unknowing/denying my own feminine. Then having the Feminine revealed within my own body as an irrepressible force of Wisdom I never knew, within me…? Such overwhelming sense of loss, pain, sadness, anger, rage. Now given a larger lens in this circle? Given a story-arc of purpose?

Rage transformed. Hope breathed. Curiosity was born anew.

Did I forgive myself? Did I forgive Godde for sanctifying such pain, in us all?


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