Pastor Jessica’s Lenten Practices: Week 3

During the season of Lent, our sermon series is “How Do I Forgive?” and each week we will share 3 practices for cultivating forgiveness based on the theme for that week. These practices come from The Book of Forgiveness by Archbishop Desmund Tutu and his daughter Mpho Tutu.

Those of you worshiping with us in person during this sermon series has or will receive a small packet with a journal, a candle, and a stone to help you engage in these practices of forgiveness.

For those of you worshiping with us online, I invite you to make yourself a journal, find a stone somewhere near your home, and identify a candle you might use for the practices I will share each week.

Below are the practices for week 3:

Meditation: “Opening to the Light” (adapted from The Book of Forgiving, Tutu, pg 28)

  1. Close your eyes and follow your breath.

  2. Imagine yourself in a safe place.

  3. In the center of your safe space is a box with many drawers. The drawers are labeled with hurts you have yet to forgive.

  4. Choose a drawer and open it. Rolled or folded or crumpled inside it are all the thoughts and feelings the incident evokes.

  5. You can choose to empty out this drawer.

  6. Bring your hurt into the light and examine it. Unfold the resentment you have felt and set it aside.

  7. Smooth out the ache and let it drift up into the sunlight and disappear.

  8. If any feeling seems too big or too unbearable, set it aside to look at later.

  9. When the drawer is empty, sit for a moment with it on your lap. 

  10. Then remove the label from this drawer.

  11. As the label comes off, imagine the drawer turns to sand. The wind will sweep it away. You don’t need it anymore. 

  12. The slot for that drawer no longer exists in the box. That space is not needed anymore.

  13. If there are more drawers still to be emptied, you can repeat this meditation now or later. 

Stone Ritual: (Tutu pg 42)

  • Take your stone, trace it 5 times on a sheet of paper or in your journal. 

  • Inside each tracing write one thing that forgiveness is not. 

  • Forgiveness is not weakness, injustice, forgetting, easy, or quick. 

  • For each of these myths about forgiveness, call to mind an instance where that myth is holding you back from granting forgiveness.

Journaling Exercise: (Tutu pg 43)

Forgiving is a process of letting go. 

  1. Think of the things you must give up or let go of in order to forgive (e.g. perhaps the right to revenge, or the expectation of an apology).

  2. As you jot down this list, pause with each item and offer thanks as you are able for the ability to let go of what you do not need in order to forgive.