South Africa, at the moment, has become a pot reaching boiling point, as racial tensions and anger mount. For some, reconciliation has become a dirty word, and for others there is fear that the reconciliation that was built up in the last 90s is under serious threat. Globally, we see similar breakdowns in relationships and rolling often violent fracturing of relationships – among the states of the former USSR, in the Middle East, in parts of Africa. And at a domestic level, we all too often experience broken and pain-filled relationships in our communities, with our neighbours and friends, and even in our families. How is it that we humans are so good at breaking fellowship?
This 20 minute message tackles these difficult issues and questions. Starting at the beginning of Genesis, I trace this origins of broken relationships: between people, with God, with the world and with ourselves. We call this ‘sin’.
Working through the First Testament, I show the many ways in which God, who created relationships and is in the business of reconciliation, worked to restore these fractures, and to build harmony and wholeness in humanity.
And then I show how Christ’s incarnation, life, death and resurrection are the pinnacle of God’s work to redeem us, to restore us, to reconcile us.
And finally, drawing on Paul’s teachings in 2 Corinthians 5, I show how we are called to be agents of reconciliation, to join with God in bringing about reconciliation. I suggest four main ways that we can and should do this: accepting God’s offer of reconciliation with us, praying for those who have fallen out of fellowship, transforming our hearts of racism and sexism (and all the other -isms), and taking a step towards an estranged loved-one. In so doing, we build the Kingdom of God in our midst.