kingdom | reconciliation

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not country men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation."
2 Corinthians 5:17-19

i have been wrestling with this whole thing called reconciliation. i have been really trying to think upon the nature reconciliation in and of itself.

i have been searching for reconciliation in and through the people, things, and actions around me...reconciliation in its purest form.

and so then i begin to ask...what is reconciliation...in its purest form?

in its simplest sense, reconciliation is simply the restoration of relationship.

but I still want to know what it looks like in its purest form.

and i have struggled and struggled to find it...to see it in the things i have been desperately praying for...

searching to see it take place in the lives of those who have been torn from their homelands...

searching to see it take place in the lives of those who once watched as their homes were bulldozed to the ground...just beacause they were not white...houses bulldozed to make room for "white" homes that never ended up begin built...because a "colored" once lived on that land...

searching to see it take place in the lives of those who have been handed one violent blow after another by the virus that now rules their once young and vibrant body...

and the list goes on...

and not just here in South Africa.  

there is a world that is starving for reconciliation with something...someone...somewhere...

and they don't even have any idea what it is.  

some people can't reconcile the choices they have made with the consequences they are left to endure because they have been made out of sinful waywardness.  others can't seem to reconcile the color of their own skin with that of their neighbors.  still others can't seem to reconcile the war waging inside them...the battle of voices barraging them

your not good enough
you have no value
just give up
you have no voice

these are real things...real people...

and they are hungry



for reconciliation.  and they don't know where to get it from. 

and once again...and i'm not surprised in the least by this...and it always comes back to this...

that the purest form of reconciliation is

the kingdom of God itself. 


but absolutely magnificently.

reconciliation...in its purest form...the same reconciliation Jesus brought to earth...comes when truth is revealed.  when truth is brought to light...movement happens...change occurs. 

but the enemy of truth is fear.  fear is often what keeps reconciliation from happening.  it is fear that keeps the one tormented by his hidden sin from confessing and being set free.  it was fear that blinded the eyes of so many "whites" who persecuted the innocent...split families in two...destroyed homes...and changes nations.  It is fear that causes her to hide inside the empty shell of a body...and forces her to accept the voices raging inside of her.  it is fear of judgement...of stigma...that keeps the ill one from stepping forward to "be well."  

fear hates reconciliation.

but truth conquers fear.

and reconciling truth opens us and sets us free.

and reconciliation will not be neat...it will not be simple. 

the kingdom of God is founded on truth...surrounding the love of a Savior who reconciled his people to himself through his death and resurrection...

the kingdom of God is...simply put...space made for reconciliation...

and those who have accepted the invitation into this kingdom are given the chance to actively participate in it...to participate in the work of it...to participate in the reconciliation process. 

in fact...i believe it is true...that we are always working for or against each other.  none of us is a neutral life. we are either bringing someone a step closer or a step further away from the Kingdom.  

reconciliation brings us a step closer.

reconciliation broadens one's kingdom perspective.  all in one moment of true and honest reconciliation...one mends the broken relationship with man and with God.  and i think that when seen through the lens of the Kingdom...it is worship...true and honest worship. (matthew 5).

because when reconciliation is found in its truest and purest form...it is found in love.  it is found in the memory of truth with compassion.  it is found in the violent rage of a loves so deep...so perfect...that it not only frightens fear...but casts it out...completely.  

the kingdom of God is love.  and if i desire to see reconciliation happen in the messes of this life...i must love...unconditionally...in relationship with others.

and that means understanding the love of God...

and understanding God himself.

because i think that understanding the nature of who God is ultimately informs our mission of love. if we can grasp something of this partnership with God, then it will inform the way that we understand mission...our relationships with others...

and in this way...the very nature of God is reconciled...because he is relational in himself.
so i ask this question...

what does my action tell people about the God i believe in...and the reconciliation his kingdom brings?

i think that when i sit in the margins...when i pay attention to the ones who are forgotten...when i simply sit an listen to the ones who are not given a voice...when i love the unloved...

it screams of who our God is...a God who says...

i am for you.

i love you.

and i want to reconcile you to myself...

because you are that important.

reconciliation will not come through organization.  it will not come because of millions of dollars dumped into the continent of Africa. it will not come from a $7oo billion economic bailout.  it will not come from just sitting around a talking about how great it would be.

but it will come through the movement of the Spirit bringing the kingdom of God to a shack in Masiphumelele...and through a threshold in Grand Rapids, Michigan...and to a college dorm room in the middle of the night...

and it will come through you and i sharing our own stories of reconciliation...always pointing to the one who...in love...reconciles lost and hurting people to himself...

just because he loves us.

i want to be someone who converses in reconciliation.  who will not simply make a declaration and then let others do the work...but i will accept the invitation to go out in shalom to a people who need reconciling...because we are created to God in a shalome-like way.

so with that i say...

accept the invitation.
carry on.

1 comment:

kimberly said...

This is perfect. and you have no idea just how timely this was today! Thanks Brad!
I sure love you!