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Reconciliation is not for the faint hearted

16/11/2018

Paul characterised his vocation as “the ministry of reconciliation.” His whole theme in Galatians and in all the activity that surrounded it had been the reconciliation of Jews and Gentiles into a single messianic family. But when it came to reconciliation, did Paul carry his own sense of failure because of the falling out of himself and Barnabas? (Acts 15:39)

The eventual restoration of relationship came about through the power of the Spirit activated by love, faith, the fruit of the spirit at work and maturity on the part of both Paul and Barnabas. (Colossians 4:10)
We too have to press through the tension of confrontation and pursue reconciliation if we are to fulfil the mandate that God has placed upon us as Christ followers in the nation of Aotearoa.

Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

How do we become one without the expectation that I have to become like you to be one or that you have to become like me to become one? How do we position ourselves in this move of God that is currently unfolding in Aotearoa? How do we truly become ambassadors of reconciliation?

Paul’s own question, “What would it look like if the One God created a new single family of “brothers and sisters” in the Messiah”, had potentially revolutionary answers. And traditional societies do not welcome revolution. As we know from Acts 10, it was actually the conversion of Peter (not just Cornelius) that was needed to push them out of their introverted worldview. Do we need a new eye opening conversion into true reconciliation?

‘The early church was an experiment in a way of being human, of being human together, that had never been tried in the world before. It was like a form of Judaism, particularly in its care for the poor, its strict sexual ethic, and its insistence on a monotheism that excluded the pagan divinities. But it was quite unlike the Jewish way of life in its open welcome to all who found themselves grasped by the good news of Jesus. That in itself was confusing enough for most people. Adding the element of apparent political subversion only made it worse. If all this sounds like a recipe for social and cultural upheaval, we are on the right track.’ - N.T Wright

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