During this Lenten season, we are reflecting on Marjorie Thompson’s Forgiveness: A Lenten Study as a Community Group. Just as Lent calls us to journey through the wilderness with Jesus, we are answering the call to pursue the path of forgiveness. At Park Avenue we will study this book together and create a piece of art together to reflect this journey. This path can be challenging and complex. More than what many were taught as children when forced to say, “I forgive you” to another child.
Forgiveness in complicated because people are complex. It’s often difficult to discern how to begin the process of healing. When wrongs are perpetrated, people are fractured, just like the pieces of this painting. Some of the deepest hurts that many of us carry are from the wounds left by broken relationships. Together, we will transform these broken pieces into something new reminding us of our pasts while allowing us to move into the future with a new sense of hope.
The path to healing is long; it’s a process. As we wrap up our discussions each week, we are working on this collective art piece bit by bit. It could be frustrating not to immediately dive in and finish it. This is part of the process.This painting is taped off to form a mosaic image that we will paint in the pieces a little bit at a time. I’m so excited to see what it will look like once it’s complete! Lent, however, calls us to a different kind of journey, one that is intentional and cannot be rushed. The process of forgiveness is the same. We first fully need to understand what forgiveness is and why we need it before seeking it out.
Marjorie Thompson reminds us of the communion to which we are called through the recognition that God desires shalom, or peaceful and holistic well-being. She writes, “Yet while our broken relationships cause terrible harm and division in this world, the spiritual truth of our human commonality remains intact. God’s love unites us by invisible bonds.” As we reach the end of this Lenten season, we will pull all of the tape off our art piece and reveal the broken pieces made whole again that remind us where we have been while looking to the future that God has planned for us.
Thanks to Lindsey Huggins for writing about this book for the blog post about our art project.