Saturday, March 13, 2010

What does it take to reconcile?


What does it take to reconcile with someone.   
     Can you remember one particularly wonderful reconciliation?
            Do you feel the release in your body when you remember that coming together?


Reconciliation releases our spirit. . . .
            It removes the obstacles to a whole relationship. Reconciliation comes from the stuff of apology and listening, of taking time to spend with each other and honest communication about hurts and feelings.
            Initially reconciliation of estranged people can be painful. We either have to admit we are wrong or we have to confess that we’ve been hurt. We have to own our feelings and recognize someone else’s.

The very root of the word means “to bring together”

This was very, VERY important to Paul. He had a rocky relationship with the Corinthians. The 1st letter dealt this many of their dysfunctions and tried to help them see they could live a new way because they were new creations in Christ. Today’s letter (2nd Corinthians) is actually part’s of several letters in a serial correspondence where hurt feelings abounded.

We don’ t have all the letters and none written by the leaders of the Corinthian church so we have to interpolate (thanks to scholars) the content from what we have. Paul got angry and wrote in anger, then he apologized as did they.

In addition to the restoring of relationship between Paul  and the church, he reminded the Corinthians that they were reconciled to God. They no longer lived estranged from the Holy One thanks to what Christ did.

We are reconciled to God. How lucky are we?
                                                                       
            Reconciliation is the essence of the ‘good news’. It is the bringing together of humanity and God.
I have a super simple definition for reconciliation with God which uses the theological word “atonement”? AT – ONE – MENT; Reconciled to God means AT ONE with God.
            Reconciliation with God is what Christ accomplished, even as we realize that our theologians differ on how exactly reconciliation was accomplished. For this time, we can be more like the old Brethren than our 20th century enlightened minds and just accept that WE ARE RECONCILED TO GOD THRU CHRIST.

Paul says it like this, “in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them,”
This is good news for anyone. AND THERE is MORE.
“in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us.
 20So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us;

It sounds like we don’t have the option of allowing disagreements to continue.

Brother Roger was a founding priest in the Taize France prayer community. He said, “the scandal for Christians is our separation from each other”  … “It is easy to say we love God and go about our daily business as if nothing had changed.

      We cannot say we LOVE OUR NEIGHBOR and not help them in their distress.” [i]

It doesn’t matter that we are not the cause of their distress.
      We don’t have to be at the heart of conflict to be responsible for the ministry of reconciliation.

Paul says we are God’s agents, God is making God’s appeal to humanity THROUGH US.
Tomorrow in worship we will take this idea further and explore in conversation the mission we are given. Set your clocks an hour early, we've got a lot of work to do!


[i] Quoted by Dirk G. Lange Feasting on the Word Homiletical Barlett & Taylor eds. (Louisville: WJK, 2009) p. 113

2 comments:

Mompriest said...

" We cannot say we LOVE OUR NEIGHBOR and not help them in their distress.” [i]
It doesn’t matter that we are not the cause of their distress. We don’t have to be at the heart of conflict to be responsible for the ministry of reconciliation."

Really love this!!

Rev Nancy Fitz said...

thank you for coming by. I was inspired by the Feasting Commentary, as always. The 4 different perspectives are really helpful. I'm hoping we can dialogue tomorrow and that people are willing to share.