The Call to Reconciliation

Written By Ben Robertson

Jesus said, “So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.”  (Matthew 5:23-24)

We are called as brothers and sisters to reconcile with one another.  We are called to live in community, not a solitary life, but a life bolstered, supported, and challenged by one’s fellows.  Such a community in Christ, if it is going to be successful, does not hold grudges.  Reconciliation does not keep score.  Christians do not cast our brothers and sisters into the outer darkness for eternity with no chance of redemption.  We may judge, and sometimes we are, prayerfully and humbly, called to judge, but any judgment is done so amidst the light of community and reconciliation....

Reconciliation in community is difficult, very difficult.  Reconciliation requires communication and clear-headedness.  Reconciliation necessitates humility and compromise.  Reconciliation demands, in no uncertain terms, that we recognize that the other with whom we may be in conflict is a child of God and deserves our attention, our energy, and the admission that they could be more right than we are.  And if that level of vulnerability is not exhaustingly difficult, than I don’t know what is....

The work of being a Christian, and being Christian community, is painstaking and arduous – no one ever said it would be easy.  But, but … when the work is over, the harvest is plenty and we will gather around God’s altar as one community, one Body of Christ, and in that glorious moment, we will be nothing less than a manifestation of the very resurrection itself.  

Copyright © 2011. Excerpted from a sermon preached at Calvary Episcopal Church, February 13, 2011.