Dare to forgive

Reconciliation sculpture, Coventry cathedral

Today’s song from Sing Praise is a Taizé chant, ‘God is forgiveness’.  As with all such chants the words are few enough to reproduce in full –

God is forgiveness
Dare to forgive and God will be with you
God is forgiveness
Love, and do not fear

As so often, brevity of an instruction does not imply an easy task. For many of us, there will be events in our lives where forgiveness is the task of a lifetime, hence the challenge ‘dare to forgive’. Daring means going out of our comfort zone and taking risks.  But God knows the heart and is still with us, even where our attempts at forgiveness fall short as memories recur or as others reject attempts at reconciliation. It is those who rule out the possibility of forgiving another, or for that matter the possibility of being forgiven themselves, who are farthest from God.

I was recently at Coventry Cathedral, which since its rebuilding after the destruction of the Second World War has become an international centre of peace and reconciliation. They pray this “litany of peace and reconciliation” each day:

All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
The hatred which divides nation from nation, race from race, class from class,
FATHER FORGIVE

The covetous desires of people and nations to possess what is not their own,
FATHER FORGIVE

The greed which exploits the work of human hands and lays waste the earth,
FATHER FORGIVE

Our envy of the welfare and happiness of others,
FATHER FORGIVE

Our indifference to the plight of the imprisoned, the homeless, the refugee,
FATHER FORGIVE

The lust which dishonours the bodies of men, women and children,
FATHER FORGIVE

The pride which leads us to trust in ourselves and not in God,
FATHER FORGIVE

Be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

For some reason I found the melody of this chant harder to pick up than most examples from Taizé, although it’s in 4/4 time and without any very high or low notes.  It’s only attributed to ‘the community’ but it would be interesting to know who composed the tune, or rather what cultural background they came from.

1 thought on “Dare to forgive”

  1. Yes, I agree with Stephen that somehow this tune did not seem to be a typical Taizé tune, and I also had a lot more difficulty with it than I expected. It lacks the “Jacques Berthier” name in the book, so presumably is by someone else.

    I confess I was a little uncomfortable with the “God is forgiveness” statement. It isn’t a bible saying such as “God is love”, and I think we should be a bit wary of limiting God to one word. Maybe I am too mathematical in my use of the word “is”?

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