Tag Archives: Reconciliation

Reconciling Love

Epiphany
February 12, 2017

Scripture Reading: Matthew 5:21-37

‘Again, you have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, “You shall not swear falsely, but carry out the vows you have made to the Lord.” But I say to you, Do not swear at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let your word be “Yes, Yes” or “No, No”; anything more than this comes from the evil one.
–Matthew 5:33-37

I am cynical about most things I read, hear, or watch these days and I do not like it. Why must I cross check even things that seem reasonable? I depend on source-trust, some totally, others with a recognition of their known biases. I appreciate editorials but only when labeled as such. I am even acquainted with propaganda, but the prevalence of fake news or perhaps the sheer availability of it is disturbing.

Source-trust built on experience demands we follower of Christ be very attentive to how we represent our faith. Not only what we say or write must pass the test of eventuality, but we also must live as the Christ we teach lived. At times, I do not recognize Christ in what I perceive to be the hate and in-hospitality of people who claim to be Christian. Is that what they think and feel about me in return? Are my actions and words construed as un-Christlike because they differ so from another’s points of view? How do we find reconciliation in such circumstances?

Finding wholeness in Christ is the only way we can find oneness as his disciples and justice for all God’s children.  Finding wholeness requires us to seek a deeper and more meaningful relationship with Christ, opening our beings to the fullness of his love. The beginning of faith is the acceptance of God’s unconditional redeeming love. It paves the way to oneness and justice.

Prayer: God of love, forgive me when I allow outside sources to shattered my relationship with you. Reconcile me to you enabling my reconciliation with all your children in the oneness of your love. Amen.

All scriptures are quoted from the new Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights are reserved.

Reconciliation

Sending Off disciples two by twoLiving in the Spirit
July 2, 2016

Scripture Reading: Luke 10:1-11, 16-20

Whatever house you enter, first say, “Peace to this house!” And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you. Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the laborer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; cure the sick who are there, and say to them, “The kingdom of God has come near to you.” But whenever you enter a town and they do not welcome you, go out into its streets and say, “Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off in protest against you. Yet know this: the kingdom of God has come near.” –Luke 10:5-11

Living in diversity dates at least back to the early stories of Genesis where we see Abram dealing with the people of the new land to which he had immigrated. The story of Moses is one of oppression and servitude as the Israelites lived among the Egyptians who once had welcomed them. The battles of the tribes from Jericho to King David are some of the most brutal reading one could ever explore. Following the relative peace of David and Solomon, Israel fails and falls once again into slavery.

Jesus revolutionized the ways God’s people dealt with diversity. He recognized the image of God in all people and encouraged his followers to do the same. The story in our scripture today does not tell us if the ones sent out were only interacting with other Jews or just any people with whom they came into contact. After experiencing the factions and fractures among the Jews, reconciliation within that community of faith may have been a first step. I dare say reconciliation is needed among those of us who call ourselves Christian today, if we are to bring about the oneness for which Jesus longed.

In the final analysis doing the battle to determine who is right and who is wrong does not help. Dialogue that helps us all grow in spirit and in truth does help.

Prayer: Lord gives us ears to listen from our hearts, and mouths to speak from Yours. Amen.

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Reconciliation

Reconcilation 2Living in the Spirit
May 19, 2016

Scripture Reading: Romans 5:1-5

Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. –Romans 5:1-2

It was a loud thundering storm that awakened me; it was dealing with how to handle a divisive issue that left me tossing and turning as the rain first came in torrents and then more gently tapping on the roof. I hate situations where decisions must be made that, in the final analysis, identifies someone as right and someone as wrong. Life events are rarely that black and white. I know how Jacob felt when he wrestled with God. He had to be purged of his vanity as well as his guilt. He had stolen his brother’s birthright, ran away to save his own skin, and met his match in a father-in-law who could be just as conniving as Jacob was. Finally besting that same father-in-law, Jacob was ready to go back and face his brother. The real battle was with God resulting in Jacob’s cleansing before reconciliation could occur. As he moved toward his brother not knowing what he would face, his brother met him with open arms. Perhaps Esau had wrestled with God, too.

The peace of God is necessary in our quest for justice for everyone. The peace of God starts first with our cleansing through the living water Jesus brought us, springing from an eternal source that will never go dry. It is the same water that can wash our souls clean while continually hydrating our wholeness. Certainly some cleansing may feel like we have been caught in a ferocious storm. As the storm abates we can experience the gentleness of God’s love like life restoring rain quenches the burnt earth.

In the early hours of the morning, I did finally drift back to sleep. When I awoke the rain had stop and a bird was singing joyously outside my window. A new day had dawned and the peace of God was with me.

Prayer: Lord, as you prepare us for reconciliation with others forgive us for our omissions and commissions that are a part of torn relationships and grant us wisdom that all involved may move forward in your truth together. Amen.

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized 
Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council 
of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights 
reserved.

Reconciliation

created in the image of godEastertide
April 16, 2016

Scripture Reading: John 10:22-30

At that time the festival of the Dedication took place in Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, ‘How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.’ Jesus answered, ‘I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me; but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. –John 10:22-27

I bristled a bit when I read the email. I had been in a conversation recently with someone regarding reconciliation within the church and throughout the world, a reality that, I do feel, is one of our greatest challenges. The email seemed to me to make the assumption that I was ignorant of oppression and suggested some books to read to get me started on the road to understanding. I am sure I do have a lot to learn about discrimination and other forms of oppression, but I am certainly not a novice. Why did it bother me so? The author barely knew me, has no idea what I know about the subject and was probably good intentioned. My reaction made me think of the movie, Ground Hog Day. I haven’t seen it but I understand it illustrates an endless cycle of waking up each day and discovering it is Ground Hog Day again and again.

I think my response was the result of my thinking that we cannot read or role play or be lectured into reconciliation. True reconciliation results from letting God clean all the filters out of our brains that cause us to react in unfair or untrue ways with the others in our lives. Reconciliation only occurs when we learn to love like Jesus. Jesus learned to love by getting to know someone. “What is it that you want?” “What do you need?” By taking the time and investing the energy into loving the other, he could meet them where they were. They could meet him where he was. They became reconciled and justice and mercy resulted.

I actually have been a bookworm all my life and know reading to be a great way to experience the realities of others in places far from my rather sheltered existence. I really don’t mind doing role play and enjoy good lectures. What causes my discomfort is thinking that my clocking hours in such activities is all I need to do to be reconciled and create a just world.

Prayer: Lord, infuse us with your ability to love like you, clean our filters so that when we encounter others in our lives we first see the image of you in them. Amen.

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized 
Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council 
of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights 
reserved.

Reconciling Harmony

Jump ropeLent
March 4, 2016

Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:16-21

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
–2 Corinthians 5:18-21

Merriam-Webster gives us three basic definitions of the word “Reconcile”*:
1.  to restore to friendship, compatibility, or harmony
2.  to make consistent or congruous; to obtain agreement between (two financial records) by accounting for all outstanding item
3.  to cause to submit to or accept

The last stage of the grief process is acceptance, to be reconciled to something one cannot change. We experience grief in the death of loved ones. We daily experience grief in our self-disappointments or our sense of real loss when we become reconciled to giving up a bad habit or implementing a much needed new one. God is with us in the reconciliation that is acceptance of something we have previously denied.

My first thoughts on the word reconciliation related to my checkbook. I do not like to reconcile it but I know it is important to keep up with it. Our oneness in Christ is a constant attempt to reconcile, to make consistent, our life in this world with our life in Christ. It requires us to not only bring into sync our personal lives with Christ, but also for us to work at being in sync with those who journey on a path to God as well as those who do not.

In the final analysis reconciliation is about harmony, a beautiful recognition that life is best played like music when all the notes culminate to perfection even as some dissonance was present throughout the playing. The final harmonious result is more glorious than one could have imaged when the players tuned their instruments in preparation for the concert. The fine tuning is necessary as is the reconciliation of the dissonance.

Prayer: Lord, help us to tune ourselves to your guiding note so that we all can play your theme in love and harmony. Amen.

*http://unabridged.merriam-webster.com/unabridged/reconcile

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized 
Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council 
of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights 
reserved.