Again, I see the rising sun reflecting off of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. The museum is an elegant mountain climb encased in glass. It is still perfect.
So I'm going to dream again
If I had 100 billion dollars, I’d borrow me some of the design ideas from the Museum and build me a Healing Forgiveness Centre close to the Winnipeg airport on the way to Stony Mountain.
This fourth floor will need at least seven levels because in essence it resembles a towering finger of hope.
The first level will need to be an inspiration to create a will and desire to forgive. One way to inspire others would be to set up a gallery of everyone who has chosen the forgiveness lifestyle, - the heroes of forgiveness - who have lived life fully and spectacularly.
The second level would give opportunity for an outward expression of an inner commitment. Just as one needs the public gesture of a wedding to help one commit to a marriage, we need public gestures to commit our lives to forgiveness. This level would have tunnels. The first tunnel would symbolize baptism. Baptism is a traditional symbol of new birth; we could have a glass tunnel under a water fall for this. There would be another tunnel of wind - duplicating the feeling of 'going against the wind' reminding us that forgiveness is always counter-intuitive. Then there would be a tunnel between two hot fires, to duplicate the feeling of entering into a 'burning holy presence,' - a refining fire resulting in complete vulnerability - no shoes allowed. There would be a tunnel reminiscent of the old saw dust trail with George Beverly Shea singing 'Just as I am.' Lastly, there would need to be the communion tunnel - replicating the Lord's supper with goblets of wine and the breaking of bread and of course the opportunity to wash each other's feet - we could add a few delicious appetizers because we might need a coffee break about now.
The next level would be a huge art studio where people would be encouraged to create in whatever medium they prefer - from a paint splattering Jackson Pollock to a Rembrandt Portrait and everything in between. This level would be hosted by imaginative, gifted artists, lovingly guiding the insecure creatives to give expression to their precious souls. Everyone would leave with their own masterpiece.
The fourth level would resemble a log cabin in the woods decorated with theology - the story of trees, starting with the Eden Tree of good and chaos and ending with a whole orchard of the Tree of life. Trees are the supreme example of every aspect of forgiveness, from the death on the tree, to the shade of a tree, to the burning bush, to their fruit, to the paper we write on, the houses that we build and the firewood that we burn. There would need to be deer on this cabin level - and I'm not quite sure why. In this ambiance of nature, one would be given the opportunity and guidance to hear God's voice, identifying it and memorializing it by collecting stones, decorating them and building altars and “inukshuks" with them. Here one could choose the name for God that fits your season of life, Abba, Father, Savior, Friend, Lover, God, Higher Power - etc.
The fifth level would give way to a pause of reflection with a giant labyrinth designed to aid in the art of silence and meditation. This level would be hosted by "poet guides" with spiritual giftings. There is nothing more meaningful than a spiritual soul giving another lonely soul, poetic images that connect them with their inner self . In a corner on this level would be a room set apart for 24/7 prayer - a place for the prayer warriors. And then of course we would need a sound proof theatre set aside for those who dance, fall, shiver and shake as they enter into the Spirit of worship music of every kind 24/7.
On the sixth level, we step onto a concrete path studded with blue gems and lined with Spanish alabaster to begin the climb up the glass finger of hope.
But before we begin the climb there would be a pastoral - type guides offering opportunities to write a personalized current 'Lord's Prayer' giving special attention to the words... "Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial, and deliver us from evil." There would also be confessional booths for those who need to say the words aloud - to begin the true cleansing process- the emptying of self necessary in a forgiveness process.
Then the walk up this path would be lined with words of unconditional love of the Creator. The words - "Do not be afraid." and "I love you." would be highlighted in music, scripted words and whispers. There might be red rose petals raining down occasionally just to remind the pilgrims climber of the unconditional love of God.
Everyone would end up at the very top - the seventh level - and be treated to a spectacular show of fierce northern lights replicated by the use of strobe lights intermittently piercing the black night. After a spectacular show, the lights would go out and the dark sky would be studded with stars - sparkling brilliantly.
Then the evening air would be filled with the most beautiful choir rendition of Handel's Hallelujah Chorus - capturing waves and waves of triumphant music, unveiling the splendor and devotion of a God who epitomizes forgiveness - who did not abandon us to the dark night of the soul but provided a way to escape into the light of the Spirit.
Then the music and view become so powerful, we can't help but spontaneously stand in ovation for what God has done for us by giving us the opportunity to experience forgiveness and all that it promises. We are filled with waves and waves of reassurances that even though suffering, failure, loneliness, sorrow, discouragement, and death are part of our journey on earth, we can climb the tower of forgiveness over and over again, and experience pure joy and delicious freedom at the top in God's presence. Here we can enter into the "awe" of God - a transcendent moment that miraculously transforms our pain into generosity and joy.
We then - in a blink of an eye - are transported down to earth ready to fight another battle with unbridled enthusiasm. Always knowing that when life gets to us - we can always return and climb the tower of hope at the Forgiveness Centre and experience new healing that leaves us with abundant faith, hope, and love - but mostly love.
I have often said, “I forgive you,” but even as I said these words my heart remained angry or resentful. I still wanted to hear the story that I was right after all; I still wanted to hear apologies and excuses; I still wanted the satisfaction of receiving some praise in return—if only the praise for being so forgiving! But God’s forgiveness is unconditional; it comes from a heart that does not demand anything of itself, a heart that is completely empty of self-seeking. It is this divine forgiveness that I have to practice in my daily life. It calls me to keep stepping over all my arguments that say forgiveness is unwise, unhealthy, and impractical. It challenges me to step over all my needs for gratitude and compliments. Finally, it demands of me that I step over that wounded part of my heart that feels hurt and wronged and that wants to stay in control and put a few conditions between me and the one whom I am asked to forgive. . . . Only when I remember that I am the Beloved Child can I welcome those who want to return with the same compassion as that with which the Father welcomes me. - Henri Nouwen