I saw fitting to write today in sync with the spirit that animated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
On the 3rd Monday of every January the whole nation celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. That is just one of the many ways the life of this young man has become a megaphone for God’s ideals of justice and reconciliation. And so today I ask you to reflect on God’s dream of reconciliation, not between God and us, but between us and other people.
We tend to reflect on reconciliation as a “between God and us” kind of deal, forgetting the horizontal dimension of reconciliation. May I state as clear and bold as I can that the two sides of reconciliation – our relationship to God and with one another – are inextricably connected into one single whole. Scriptures are unambiguous on this. Jesus states that our reconciliation with God is dependent on our reconciliation with our fellow human beings (Mat 5:22-24). John explains the logic behind this: if you cannot love (be reconciled to) your brother, whom you see, how can you love (be reconciled to) God, whom you can’t see (1 John 4:20-21). At the heart of the Gospel is the message of reconciliation.
Simply stated, reconciliation means to be at peace with, to not hold anything against, to be in a friendship relationship. We as Christians should be the champions of reconciliation. We should not allow our differences to separate us. We should not allow
the color of our skin,
the social class,
and _______ fill in the blank,
break the primal bond that unites us, because after all before anything else we’re all precious human beings created equally in God’s image.
Yes, Tony Jones is right in championing: ”Friendship should trump doctrinal differences” and calling it an issue of sin. He aptly writes in his latest book: “Emergents believe that an envelope of friendship and reconciliation must surround all debates about doctrine and dogma” (page 78). The emergents should be known not for adultering the message of the Gospel but for upholding it in the highest esteem. For if we don’t reflect reconciliation in our lives without boundaries and limitations we show a profound lack of grasp of what Gospel is really about.
May we, once again on this day, be inspired to pause and seek reconciliation? Would you join Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in fulfilling God’s dream?
Can I get a show of hands (comments)?