16/01/2017 12:00 pm
God of all goodness, we give you thanks
for reconciling us and the whole world
to yourself in Christ.
Empower us, our congregations and our churches
in ministries of reconciliation.
Heal our hearts and help us
to spread your peace.
“Where there is hatred, let us sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy”.
We pray in the name of Christ Jesus,
by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
|2 Corinthians 5:18-19||The ministry of reconciliation|
|Genesis 50:15-21||Joseph is reconciled with his brothers|
|Psalm 72||God’s kingdom brings righteousness and peace|
|1 John 3:16b-21||God’s love compels us to love one another|
|John 17:20-26||Jesus prays for the unity of his church|
Reconciliation between God and human beings is the key reality of our Christian faith. Paul was convinced that the love of Christ compels us to bring God’s reconciliation to bear in all aspects of our life. Today this leads us to examine our consciences in relation to our divisions. As the story of Joseph demonstrates, God always gives the grace needed for the healing of broken relationships.
The great reformers such as Martin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli and John Calvin, as well as many who remained Catholics, such as Ignatius of Loyola, Francis de Sales and Charles Borromeo, sought to bring about renewal in the Western church. However, what should have been a story of God’s grace was also marred by human sinfulness and became a story of the rending of the unity of God’s people. Compounded by sin and warfare, mutual hostility and suspicion deepened over the centuries.
The ministry of reconciliation includes the work of overcoming divisions within Christianity. Today, many Christian churches work together in mutual trust and respect. One positive example of ecumenical reconciliation is the dialogue between the Lutheran World Federation and the Mennonite World Conference. After the dialogue results were published in the document “Healing Memories: Reconciling in Christ”, the two organizations held a penitential service together in 2010 followed by further reconciliation services throughout Germany and in many other countries.
Where do we see the need for a ministry of reconciliation in our context?
How are we responding to this need?