Reconciliation   noun

  1. the restoration of friendly relations.
synonyms: reuniting, reunion, bringing together (again), conciliation, reconcilement, rapprochement, fence-mending;

We come together as a community out of mutual love, respect, caring for one another and compassion.  In open, honest conversations, mistakes are made.  The challenge lands in our lap immediately.  When we are the recipient of a remark or action that we interpret as rude, thoughtless, careless or even hostile, what action do we take?  Do we go to the offending party later in private to work things out?  Or do we hang onto the ugly feelings and let it out by counter-attacking, gossip or leaving the church? When I learned to paddle a kayak in whitewater, the instructor taught us some of the more difficult strokes first.  These were strokes required for getting out of a bad situation in the water.  Many of these techniques are exactly opposite what you would intuitively think to do.  I will always remember how the instructor explained teaching the more difficult self-rescue strokes first.  He said, “When you are in a jam you need to know these, and you will lean back on what you learned first.”  The teachings of Jesus on reconciliation are like that.    When your instinct tells you to run away, Jesus tells us to first come together to see if we can be reconciled: “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.” (Matthew 18:15)  Real reconciliation between two people requires intention, discipline, love and effort.  We are commanded by Jesus to pursue reconciliation with other people because being reconciled to God requires the same process.   With intention, discipline, love and effort we bring before God the things that separate us from God.  Standard theology tells us that “Jesus did all the work [of reconciliation] on the cross,” I have never believed that reconciliation with God would be any easier than reconciliation with those who have hurt us.  But both types of reconciliation are possible if we put in the effort.   I pray that our congregation will practice reconciliation among ourselves, and by doing so, we can become a source of healing for this whole community.  God knows we all need it.