Speaking to the Soul: Unreconciled

Week of Christmas 1, Year One

[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]

 Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:

Psalms 46, 48 (morning) // 90 (evening)

Isaiah 26:1-9

2 Corinthians 5:16-6:2

John 8:12-19

Well, it’s the last day of the year. Many of us may be waking up to the unfinished business of 2014: goals that we haven’t completed, budgets that don’t match projections, hopes that reality can’t deliver. Some things simply may have to go unreconciled.

Of course, unfinished business at the end of the year may be less disconcerting than relationships that we haven’t been able to reconcile. Unreconciled relationships may feel particular painful when our Scriptures and the Book of Common Prayer place such a high priority on “reconciliation.”

Today’s second reading says that God has “reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us.” Since God has found a way to reconcile human beings to himself, shouldn’t we be able to reconcile with others? According to this passage, reconciliation is our ministry and our message as Christians. Further, the Book of Common Prayer charges people with a ministry “to carry on Christ’s work of reconciliation in the world.”

If reconciliation is so important, what do we make of the unresolved areas in our lives? What do we make of the aspirations that went unfulfilled, the relationships that seem to have failed? I know that I personally have a hard time living with relationships in which reconciliation was not possible, either my own or relationships I felt some responsibility for.

Perhaps it helps to see reconciliation not so much as an ideal to pursue, but more as a choice not to hold things against others. As the Scripture says, God reconciled the world to himself by “not counting their trespasses against them.” Instead of seeing reconciliation as everyone and everything living together happily ever after, we can see reconciliation as everyone moving on without guilt or resentment. That form of reconciliation is still a tall order, but I think it’s easier to live with as we step into the new year.

Lora Walsh blogs about taking risks and seeking grace at A Daily Scandal.  She serves as curate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and as director of the Ark Fellows, an Episcopal Service Corps  program sponsored by St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

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