When we pray the Lord's Prayer we ask God to "forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us." When we forgive one another we are set free of the past, we are born again into the possibilities for the present moment; we are released from the endless struggles, repetitions, and reenactments of the old stories that have dominated our lives.
Forgiveness is eventually required because it is forgiveness that sets us free from the bondage of the past. Forgiveness enables us to grow in heart and spirit - it enables our soul to move beyond the pain. The deeper the hurt and the more dominant the injustice, the more we are invited to grieve, to descend into our pain, and to surrender and let go into forgiveness.
We were created to love, because we are created in the image and likeness of God. Once healing has occurred, we are not afraid to face truth or proclaim it because we have been freed by it. In recovery, the wounds that bind us in captivity and isolation are opened, cleansed and redeemed as Christ invites us to find meaning and transformation in the victory of His resurrection.
Indeed, we need a savior. We need a redeemer who can handle the dirty sad secrets conceived by a sinful and fallen humanity. Christ is the Light. We are invited to receive love and comfort from someone who has suffered everything we have suffered. Jesus is The Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world." (John 1:29) He has already carried the passion and hurt of each and every vicious sin ever conceived in the heart of man. He is familiar with abuse, with persecution, with violence, and betrayal. He has also been victimized by those who tried desperately to abort his mission of love.
Who else could we possibly trust to embrace the depth of our pain? Who else can we trust to understand the tears of grief that drown our weary souls? Who else can we dare to approach to unshackle the chains that have kept us in prisons of despair? Who else can possibly understand our feelings of abandonment - the sunken feeling that God has forgotten us and that our strivings have been in vain? Who else but Christ can model for us the extraordinary and courageous grace of forgiveness?
Jesus taught that in this world we would have great tribulation - but he also promised us the gift of his Peace, a peace the world cannot take away. From Grief to Grace helps participants to experience how the works of God might be manifest through the painful events in their own lives. The process will help them recognize in their own stories of death and destruction that Jesus has truly come to bring us new life. Even in the midst of our pain is a place of grace, a moment of spiritual promise and healing - a resurrection.
This retreat is a journey into the heart of suffering. It is a passage of surrender into the cross of our own afflictions. It is a voyage directly into the outstretched arms of God himself. Jesus has removed the barrier that has separated us from the almighty "I AM." The curtain has been torn and there is no longer any divide between God and his chosen people. He invites us to learn who we really are. He welcomes us. He longs to comfort us. He encourages us to come close to him, and thereby discover our own true selves. His mission is a cry for justice, until all forms of violence are conquered through the power of Love. He invites us to new life!