“Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don’t look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life emerges! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We are Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We are speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you.” (Cf 2 Corinthians, 5: 16-20, The Message)
The word, reconciliation, gets bandied about a lot these days. I wonder if we even realize its true meaning when we use it in the Church. What the Church means by reconciliation should be a different animal from the way society or our culture might think about it. St. Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians above, makes plain the basis and ground of any reconciliation in the faith community. The very first sentence says it all. When we look, what do we see?
Outer appearances are not important in the realm of G-D’s governance. The adage, “you can’t judge a book by its cover,” may not be in the bible, but its spirit lives on the pages. It is what is inside that counts and what’s inside is an entirely new person because of the nature and actions of Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ. This newness necessarily means the death of the old. Our life journey is about learning to let go of old ways of being, attitudes, and thinking to make room for the new —the Christ-consciousness that has now taken root within us. This transformation is the entire story that we re-enacted this past weekend. From death to life. It is the WAY.
Each day we arise, we are given a new opportunity to choose to participate (“enter into,” Paul says) in G-D’s plan for the cosmos. That plan is reconciliation with G-D. Now that we are new people living a new life, our perception is new as well and we begin to see other people, situations, and conditions differently. Our choice has to be made daily…even hourly or minute-by-minute sometimes. At times it may be hard, but it is always worth it!
There can be no real reconciliation if the former self is still in charge in our lives. The Christ-self must be surrendered to for a more fruitful, meaningful lived experience with ourselves and with others. This is true reconciliation, the reconciliation effected by Jesus and the reconciliation we all get to participate in for the life of the world. And God only knows how much the world needs it.
Lastly, the Apostle says that we are friends of God. Imagine that—G-D calls us Friend. It is definitely a new life…this reconciliation; what Joy! Happy Easter God’s Friends! Alleluia, Christ is Risen! The Lord is risen indeed, Alleluia!
Your Easter Friend,