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Theme for the Month: Parables of Reconciliation "All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ" (2 Corinthians 5:18)

 

The simplest and most difficult in the world is probably, "to reconcile." To reconcile is to forgive as God forgave us. An anonymous author shared about a company bulletin board: it read, "To err is human; to forgive is not company policy."

It is difficult to believe that we have moved on and fast approaching another Season of Lent. One of the essential Christian ideas that need urgent attention is the idea of Reconciliation. To "reconcile," or bring about "reconciliation," is to restore harmony between two entities formerly divided. The Biblical tradition is a tradition of parables of reconciliation, which illustrate relationships restored between human persons, between humans and God, and among various elements in the cosmos.

The apostle Paul, while addressing the early believers in Rome invites them to think about reconciliation. God's reconciliation with the world is not about the change in God's mind about the believers, but there is an altered relationship between God and sinners by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. We can be reconciled at the cross. It means that we are empowered to reconcile with our own sins and the sins of the other. To reconcile, is not to feel weak but to feel strong, as Paul would say later, to be content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions and calamities (2 Corinthians 12:10). Reconciliation is an act of courage and the celebration of difference, because, the cross is itself a symbol of difference; it is at the cross, the reconciliation is celebrated in the midst of vulnerability.

Our Lenten Reflections will help us focus on the different aspects, and the possibilities and contexts of reconciliation. Our Friday meditations will focus on Jesus' journey towards Jerusalem, towards the cross and the parables that appear 'on the way.' The Parables of Jesus can inspire us to think of our own parables of reconciliation and probably share it.

In the last chapter of the Book of Genesis, there is a beautiful picture of reconciliation. The brothers of Joseph were not sure, if he, who being placed in the position of power will pay back for the wrong they had done. But that did not happen. Instead, Joseph wept and the brothers also wept (Genesis 50:18).This is a parable of Reconciliation. Reconciliation is not about one weak person surrendering to a strong person, but it is the discovery of harmony, which in Kannada is translated as Samanvaya.

Finally, there is nothing godly about responding to systemic evil with passive acceptance or unexamined complicity. As the theologian and anti-Nazi dissident Dietrich Bonhoeffer warns us, we must never allow forgiveness to degenerate into "cheap grace." That is, "the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, communion without confession... grace without the Cross."

It is my prayer that this Lenten Season, we will rediscover the possibility and power of reconciliation in all spheres of life, as Paul would wish, "If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all" (Romans 12:18).

Your Presbyter
Rev. Dr. Dexter S. Maben
 
 
   
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