Pray for Forgiveness by Alicia Keys
interrupting our vicious cycles
of resentment and revenge:
teach us to walk the way of forgiveness
and to love the gift
that has no measure;
through Jesus Christ, who died for all.
by Nikki Giovanni
the last time i was home
to see my mother we kissed
and unpleasantries pulled a warm
comforting silence around
us and read separate books
i remember the first time
i consciously saw her
we were living in a three room
apartment on burns avenue
mommy always sat in the dark
i don’t know how i knew that but she did
that night i stumbled into the kitchen
maybe because i’ve always been
a night person or perhaps because i had wet
she was sitting on a chair
the room was bathed in moonlight diffused through
those thousands of panes landlords who rented
to people with children were prone to put in windows
she may have been smoking but maybe not
her hair was three-quarters her height
which made me a strong believer in the samson myth
and very black
i’m sure i just hung there by the door
i remember thinking: what a beautiful lady
she was very deliberately waiting
perhaps for my father to come home
from his night job or maybe for a dream
that had promised to come by
“come here” she said “i’ll teach you
a poem: i see the moon
the moon sees me
god bless the moon
and god bless me”
i taught it to my son
who recited it for her
just to say we must learn
to bear the pleasures
as we have borne the pains
by Rita Dove
Imagine you wake up
with a second chance: The blue jay
hawks his pretty wares
and the oak still stands, spreading
glorious shade. If you don’t look back,
the future never happens.
How good to rise in sunlight,
in the prodigal smell of biscuits –
eggs and sausage on the grill.
The whole sky is yours
to write on, blown open
to a blank page. Come on,
shake a leg! You’ll never know
who’s down there, frying those eggs,
if you don’t get up and see.
“But I say to you who are willing to hear: Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on the cheek, offer the other one as well. If someone takes your coat, don’t withhold your shirt either. Give to everyone who asks and don’t demand your things back from those who take them. Treat people in the same way that you want them to treat you.
“If you love those who love you, why should you be commended? Even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, why should you be commended? Even sinners do that. If you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, why should you be commended? Even sinners lend to sinners expecting to be paid back in full. Instead, love your enemies, do good, and lend expecting nothing in return. If you do, you will have a great reward. You will be acting the way of children of the Most High, who is kind to ungrateful and wicked people. Be compassionate just as Abba God is compassionate.
“Don’t judge, and you won’t be judged. Don’t condemn, and you won’t be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good portion—packed down, firmly shaken, and overflowing—will fall into your lap. The portion you give will determine the portion you receive in return.”
Forgive Me Lord and Try Me One More Time by Sister Rosetta Tharpe
by Mary McLeod Bethune, adapted
God, We are glad to be called Thy children,
and to dedicate our lives to the service
that extends through willing hearts and hands
to the betterment of all humankind.
We send a cry of Thanksgiving for
people of all races, creeds, classes, and colours the world over,
and pray that through the instrumentality of our lives
the spirit of peace, joy, fellowship, and kinship shall circle the world.
We know that this world is filled with discordant notes, but help us, God,
to so unite our efforts that we may all join in one harmonious symphony
for peace and kinship, justice, and equality of opportunity for all.
Grant us strength and courage and faith and humility
sufficient for the tasks assigned to us.
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father and Mother, our Parent who art in Perfection,
we love you so much that even your Name is holy to us.
Thy community come,
Thy yearning be done,
among all of us here as well as in heaven.
Give us this day just what we need.
And forgive us our trespasses –
but only as much as we forgive those
who trespass against our own boundaries.
Save us from this time of trial,
and deliver us from evil.
For the community, the power,
and the glory are yours –
now and forever. Amen.
Forgive Them Father by Lauryn Hill
Mysterious God, confounding our expectations,
meeting us where we least expect to find you,
Stay with us now.
Child of the manger, healing our pain,
sharing our weakness,
Stay with us now.
Source of life,
birth of God within our own experience,
Stay with us now.
Stay with us in our frailty and our strength,
stay with us on our journeys,
walk beside us, live within us,
lead us to glory, lead us home.
May the blessing of God – God beyond us, God with us, and God within us,
be with us and remain with us always. Amen.