In my article, Reconciliation in God’s Perfect Timing, the focus was on how God’s good gift of reconciliation is personally discovered, over time, and through the ministry of His people, (“Teamwork—the ministry of reconciliation in action!”)  The article ended with a quote from Scripture:

“So, from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” 1 Corin 5:16-19

Today’s Focus

In less than a month, people who pay attention to the calendar will pay more attention to their mothers than they usually do.  (The rest of us will scramble at the last minute as the television commercials or a more responsible sibling, suddenly remind us of Mother’s Day!)  Young and old will in various ways turn their thoughts to that most fundamental of relationships—the one who gave them birth.

One way or another, they will—

–spend time enjoying their mother’s company, or grieving her absence.

–give gifts to celebrate her,

–or wish they could hear one more time, “I’m just glad you’re here.”

… or hear her gripe because you were late. . .

 

There’s something about mothers that points to the topic at hand today.  Have you noticed that given the option of what to do as a family,

whatever the activity, whatever the menu,

whatever the circumstance,  .  .  .

 . . .if mothers really get what we want, the day will include:

 all of our family, all of our children

….in the same room. . .  at the same time?

 [Now, as an aside to mothers of preschoolers:  you may need to reach a bit to relate to the desire to have all your kids around, but I guarantee you that the day will come when you will find your highest and best hopes include a gathering of your family in which no one is missing, that they are all there . . ],

and we want them all to get along!]  

That last part, all getting along, . . . that reminds me of a family reunion my mother once planned.  She rented a condo in Steamboat Springs during the off-season.  I have three siblings.  At the time we were all married and had several children in tow.  An outing to the mountains sounded wonderful and we all came in from across the country.

Now, picture this:  An A-Frame condo which could efficiently sleep all of us, but with no extra space to move around much.  The living room was big enough to accommodate us all, if the kids sat on the floor.  On a mountain slope with no snow, no TV, nothing to do, but be together.  My mother was in “hog heaven” as she used to say.  The rest of us not so much.

The first day went by peaceably, but by the third day we couldn’t get away from there fast enough – including my mother.  She had us gathered – all in the same room – but the rest of the picture, all in unity, all getting along, sweet fellowship – well, that part of her hope didn’t pan out – it wasn’t a pretty picture!

The dissonance between my Mom’s vision and the reality in practice was not unlike the difference between God’s original plan for the world and the fallen world we live in.  My mother’s plans and hopes didn’t match very well.

But at the core of her soul, my mother’s heart reflected God’s heart – God wants his children gathered, all together, in unity, around His table; it’s how He created us to be; and it’s why it is always a disappointment when things don’t work out, when there is dissension, division, strife, separation . . .  We so know that we know that. . . we need to be reconciled, restored to His plan.  I believe this yearning (for reconciliation and unity) and the disappointment when we don’t reach that hope is a constant cycle since the fall and this side of heaven.

A familiar parable of Jesus paints the picture of God’s heart on this, the parable of the lost sheep where Jesus tells us about how the shepherd will leave the other 99 sheep and go and look for the one who is lost.  When he finds that lost or wandering sheep, he returns to the fold triumphantly to restore it to the flock.  It isn’t good when even one is missing. . . The Parable of the Lost appears in the Gospels of Matthew (Matthew 18:12–14) and Luke (Luke 15:3–7).

Reconciliation isn’t just a good idea, or something that is nice to do.  It isn’t merely a “hoped for outcome” as is said in planning meetings.  Reconciliation is integral to who God is and who we are.  It is in our DNA, foundational to our understanding of God’s purposes in the world and His purposes in us individually.  Reconciliation is the whole point of God, the whole point of us together.

As I said, I have reconciliation on my mind a lot.  Here is a post from my Facebook page some time ago:

“Thinking about the “ministry of reconciliation” that we have been given as Christians. As conflict rages around the world, as airlines and their passengers become increasingly contentious, as neighbors call the police before they even ask the guy next door to move the car blocking their driveway, as tensions deepen in families, I find myself praying for mercy, for God’s intervention. Then it occurs to me that —- with the alienation that is active around us, there has never been a better time that I have known, at least in my lifetime, to take up the responsibility given to us as Christ’s ambassadors in the world. I am praying that the Body of Christ will shoulder anew this responsibility.”

 Pray for me as I continue in my musings about the Ministry of Reconciliation.

 

Mary Heathman

Mary Heathman

Founding Director

Mary is one of the founders of Where Grace Abounds and served as Executive Director from its inception on July, 1986 through March 31st, 2007.  She speaks and teaches at churches and conferences across the country. She has also served on several boards of non-profit organizations, is a conference speaker on a variety of topics that include: Intimacy with God, Healthy Sexuality, and leadership development.  She currently serves in leadership in her denomination. Mary’s favorite ministry roles are discipleship counseling, group facilitation, and leadership development.

Mary often characterizes herself as “a seeker of Truth” and has a long-standing fascination with human behavior and motiviation.  Her education consists of lay and discipleship counseling, indepentent study about the integration of psychology and theology, counseling and human sexuality. She also holds a BS in Human Services and an MA in Psychology from Regis University.

Mary attends a Friends (Quaker) Church.

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