Greetings in Christ,
Jackie and I attended the movie, ‘I Can Only Imagine’ in Elkader last night. It is the story of the writer of one of the most popular modern Christian songs in recent years. The writer of the song, Bart Miller, had a traumatic childhood with an abusive father and a mother who abandoned him at age ten. Bart found sanctuary in music as a child, and a high school football injury led him to discover his singing voice.
Bart joins a Christian band which becomes the band known as Mercy Me, and they struggle by singing at small venues, doing well, but never entirely breaking through. Through all of these years, Bart is haunted by his childhood and his anger at his father and his abuse. Bart returns home to confront his father to get beyond his anger. Once home he discovers that his father is dying and has become a Christian.
Bart’s struggle to forgive his father, their reconciliation and his father’s death is the source of the song ‘I Can Only Imagine.’ It is well worth your time to see.
As Christians, we are called to forgive as we have been forgiven. Forgiveness is among the most challenging things we are to do as believers. Forgiveness often faces deep and traumatic pain retracing paths of injury that can be nightmarish to confront, much less forgive. As Christians our learning to forgive begins with Jesus as he is being crucified, as he is enduring the pain and humiliation of the cross, the taunts and jeers of the mob, the abandonment of his disciples and the looming horror an unjust death. It is was there that he spoke, ‘Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.’
I pray that all can learn the depth of love that forgives even when there is no earthly reason to forgive. I pray we can learn to forgive as Jesus did from the cross.