People Reconciled

We are people reconciled to God and to one another. The very first story about our human ancestors is a story of their disobedience to the Lord. Whoever our first ancestors were, those who wrote the first stories of our faith believed that human beings were in need of reconciliation. That’s why, in the Genesis story of Adam and Eve and their sinfulness the biblical author tells us that God promises that one day we will be reconciled, just as one day we injured our relationship with God.

In his book on reconciliation, Reconciliation: Mission and Ministry in a Changing Social Order and Ministry of Reconciliation: Spirituality & Strategies, Robert Schreiter, C.PP.S. reminds us over and over again that reconciliation always begins with the victim, with the one who was offended or injured. If we understand reconciliation as a spiritual activity, it always begins with God, whether the reconciliation is between God and humanity, God and a specific human being, one group of human beings and other group of human beings or one human being and another one. It does not begin with the one who committed the offence. It does not begin with him or her expressing regret or sorrow, but with the offer of mercy.

Schreiter reminds us that reconciliation is not about forgetting, but about remembering in a new way. It is not about restoring a broken relationship, but about constructing a new one. It is not about going back to the way things were before the relationship was shattered, but about going forward to create a new relationship, a relationship where each participant sees the other as a full human being, entitled to the dignity all people deserve as children of the Creator.

We can never go back to the garden of Eden, but we can enter into a relationship with God who loves us, not because we have sufficiently repented, but because God’s mercy is more than sufficient to bring us into a relationship of love and compassion.

We are people reconciled, not by what we have done, but by what God has done for us!

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