Tuesday, March 20, 2007

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From Paul's second letter to the Corinthians: "If anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! 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."

The ministry of reconciliation and its difficulties is the theme that runs through our lessons this week. From the moment of celebrating the passover in the new land to today it is a difficult ministry to reconcile ourselves to one another and to God. The various obstacles can be seen in the story of the Prodigal Son. The younger son has to hit bottom before he can let go of his pride and selfishness to return to his father's house. The older son will have to let go of his pride and self righteousness to return to the father's house. The father is not like any father of the era of Jesus - obviously he represents the One who is willing to let go of all prestige and pride of place to run after his two sons and love them back into relationship. Jesus seems to be saying that God will not give up on us and desires our relationship so much that God will break down all the preconceived ideas of the nature of God. Jesus represents God as one who will come down from whatever throne on which we place God to fly flapping sandaled, hair flying after us, to cry on our necks, to run first to the broken and next to the unbreakable egos we try to maintain.

What does that say to us who are called to the ministry of reconciliation - called to that ministry by our baptism and participation in the Body of Christ? A friend of mine was torn between going to a funeral of a man who had died angry at her church community and staying home for fear of being rejected once again by the family. She decided to go. The family greeted her warmly and openly. They too must have had their fears about whether any of their old friends would come. Each person in the story had to move out of their fears to begin reconciliation. Each had to step into a situation of the unknown.

God is constantly calling us back into relationship and is willing to let go of godself to make that happen. God gives up all power to enter into human life as Jesus - allows all the human joy and sorrow to be a part of God. I find it hard to even make a small move towards reconciliation with some. This is not a call to endanger oneself in a situation of abuse, but to see the other as also a child of God. Prayer seems to be the first step. The next step is unknown to me but I pray will become clear as I move into it.

The Collect for the Day says:
Gracious Father, whose blessed Son Jesus Christ came down from heaven to be the true bread which gives life to the world: Evermore give us this bread, that he may live in us, and we in him; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Pray that in receiving the bread of reconciliation - we will be strengthened to become bread for others.