Daily Reflection
February 15th, 2008

Jeanne Schuler

Department of Philosophy
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Freedom and Forgiveness

The philosopher Kierkegaard identified two movements of faith. The leap to the infinite and belief in God is well-known. But the second move back to the finite slips by unnoticed. Here unfolds the deep mystery that all which is broken or lost--even life--will be restored. Our rush to glory gets routed back to the earth. But with this difference: that somehow God is present in the ordinary. Our resurrection has already begun.

God knows us well. Bearing our sacrifices to the altar, we are stopped. All those glowing deeds matter. But there is something more that God wants. Make peace with our enemy or at least look him in the eye again. Stop running from those who fill us with fear. Take the long walk over to a colleague’s door. If we cannot forgive, do we at least see persons across the divide? Can we reframe an issue to heal the rupture? Right relationships often begin as the distance between us lessens.

The space between persons can be desolate. You invite me into this space. There you are.

God calls us to freedom. The Jewish people were crushed by exile and every kind of loss. Their prophet Ezekiel reminds them how much each of them matters. They are not doomed by past faults. Sure we belong to ancestors, families, tribes, nations, races, and religions. But the past does not hang like a great weight upon us. In God’s presence, the self grows lighter.

You are God of the living. You smash the yoke and set us free.

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