SAINTS: Cornelius And Cyprian — Reconcilers In The Ancient Church, by Greg Friedman

March 10, 2017

From: Lent With The Saints Ezekiel 18:21-28; Psalm 130:1-8; Matthew 5:20-26 The church has always been in need of reconciliation.  Our human nature means that there will always be a need to forgive each other.  Today’s Gospel offers us Jesus’s guidelines for forgiveness in the community.  Matthew’s “parish,” the communities for whom he wrote, must have needed those guidelines – no surprise there.  We’re fortunate to have Jesus’s instructions on how to be a reconciling community. Saints Cornelius and Cyprian faced one of the early church’s thorniest problems.  In the third century they wrestled with the problem of how to deal with Christians who had renounced their faith and sacrificed [...]

SATURDAY READING: Eucharist As An Alternative Space To The Globalization Of Media by Joshva Raja

December 5, 2015

From The Edge of God A Story of a Eucharist Manjolai is a small tea estate, owned by a group of shareholders under the name of Bombay Burma Trading Corporation.  It has seven estates with more than 2,000 full-time workers.  The majority of the laborers are from Dalit communities.  I worked in this place as a priest in 1994 and 1995.  During my ministry there I experimented in a project for the Church of South India (CSI) synod named a “Laborer’s awareness project.”  Interestingly, the church became the center of the community and the priest was seen as a labor union representative.  As I ran this project, I could mediate between the company managers and laborers.  Very often during and after the Holy Communion [...]

PEACEBUILDING: The Journey Toward Reconciliation, by John Paul Lederach

September 18, 2014

From The Journey Toward Reconciliation The story of Esau and Jacob has especially shaped the way I understand and look at reconciliation.  It has provided me with a guiding framework for the other stories and ideas that I will explore.  Let me start with the narrative in Genesis, chapters 25-33. Esau and Jacob are brothers, sons of Isaac and Rebecca.  Esau is the firstborn, the hunter, and the pride of his father’s eyes.  Jacob stays near home and close to his mother.  When Isaac is old and nearly blind, he calls Esau to bless him as the firstborn son. Esau sets out to hunt for game to roast as the meal preceding that generational blessing.  While he is gone, Rebecca shows Jacob how to trick the old man into believing [...]

POETRY: Reconciliation, by Walt Whitman

September 17, 2014

Word over all, beautiful as the sky, Beautiful that war and all its deeds of carnage must in time be utterly lost, That the hands of the sisters Death and Night incessantly softly wash again, and ever again, this soil’d world; For my enemy is dead, a man divine as myself is dead, I look where he lies white-faced and still in the coffin—I draw near, Bend down and touch lightly with my lips the white face in the [...]

PEACEMAKING: Forgiveness, Reconciliation, And Justice — A Christian Contribution to a More Peaceful Environment, by Miroslav Volf

September 16, 2014

From Christian Peace and Nonviolence, edited by Michael G. Long In this essay I want to contest the claim that the Christian faith, as one of the major world religions, predominantly fosters violence, and to argue, instead, that it should be seen as a contributor to more peaceful social environments.  I will not argue that the Christian faith was not and is not often employed to foster violence.  Obviously, such an argument cannot be plausibly made; not only have Christians committed atrocities and other lesser forms of violence but they have also drawn on religious beliefs to justify them.  Neither will I argue that the Christian faith has been historically less associated with violence than other major religions; I am not at all [...]

PEACEMAKING: Five Principles Of A Practical Theology Of Reconciliation, by Robert J. Schreiter

September 15, 2014

From Peacebuilding Christian theology makes a distinction between vertical and horizontal reconciliation.  Vertical reconciliation is humanity’s being reconciled to God.  It concerns the biblical vision of human sin and how that sin is overcome in Christ, especially in his suffering and death.  Because of Christ’s work, human beings are brought back into communion with God.  This communion with God is the destiny of all human beings.  The biblical touchstone for this is Romans 5:1-11.  There, Paul asserts that we have been justified before God and that this has brought about reconciliation. Most of Catholic teaching about reconciliation that has been developed thus far focuses on this vertical dimension of [...]

PRAYER: A Prayer Of Reconciliation, by Caryl Micklem

September 15, 2014

Christ died that we might be reconciled to you, Father, and to one another.  People cannot believe in reconciliation with you unless there are human reconciliations which reflect it.  And so we pray for the healing of the broken bonds of human life. We pray for reconciliation between nations.  We do not believe that the true interests of nations ever conflict sharply enough for war to be necessary.  And yet we know that peace has often been exploited by those who love to oppress, making war a grim necessity.  Give us true peace, founded on justice and respect for human [...]

FORGIVENESS: The Dynamics Of Processes Of Reconciliation — Three Steps, by Geiko Müller-Fahrenholz

August 25, 2014

From: Comfortable Words, John D. Koch, Jr., and Todd H. W. Brewer, ed. Why do I introduce reconciliation here?  My observation is that forgiveness is only one step although of central importance within a wider process for which I use the term reconciliation.  I hope to be able to explain this in the following part.  What I have tried to say thus far leads me to conclude that each act of wrongdoing produces a twofold history of effect (Wirkungsgeschichte).  Simply put, on the side of the perpetrator we are bound to find a history of denial – in other words, psychic maneuvers such as rationalizations, justification, or trivializations to cover up shame and guilt. On the side of the victims we find a history of shaming which also [...]

THE CHURCH: The Religion Of Mercy by Robin R. Meyers

May 1, 2014

From Morning Sun on a White Piano For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. —Hosea On a bright spring morning, three days after Easter in Oklahoma City, a clean-cut but lonesome drifter with a pathological hatred for the U. S. government drove a truck packed with homemade explosives to the front door of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building and blew a gaping hole in the myth of the American Heartland. Bottle-fed on Hate Radio, and estranged from everything and everyone, including himself, this crusader against the Evil One has finally shown us what the politics of fear can produce: sow enough bad seeds, and eventually you harvest a mutant crop. This is the city where I live and work, [...]

THE PRODIGAL SON: The Prodigal Son And Reconciliation by Joel W. Huffstetler

March 27, 2014

From Boundless Love Then Jesus said, “There was a man who had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the property that will belong to me.’ So he divided his property between them. A few days later the younger son gathered all he had and traveled to a distant country, and there he squandered his property is dissolute living. When he had spent everything, a severe famine took place throughout that country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed the pigs. He would gladly have filled himself with the pods that the pigs were eating; and no one gave him anything. But when he came to himself [...]

HOLY COMMUNION: Earthing The Eucharist by Ken Newell

February 27, 2014

From Treasures of Irish Christianity, Salvador Ryan and Brendan Leahy, editors I felt churned up inside with anger and despair when I got the news.  On Wednesday afternoon, 5 February 1992, two UFF gunmen walked into Sean Graham’s Bookmakers on Belfast’s Ormeau Road and shot dead five innocent Catholics, four men and a fifteen-year-old boy.  My church was close by. The next evening I visited the five families with some of our church elders and prayed with them.  We were welcomed with extraordinary warmth.  As Sunday approached I found it difficult to concentrate on preparing the liturgy for the Lord’s Supper.  I kept asking myself, “What is the link between the sacrament and the murders?”  Slowly it [...]

ADVENT MEDITATION: Yielding to God by Philip Britts

December 9, 2012

When the wise men, or the kings, came from the East, they went to Jerusalem, the capital, to inquire, “Where is he who has been born King of the Jews?”  And today those who are “wise” make the same mistake in looking to worldly power to solve the world’s problems.  Others go to magnificent cathedrals and follow spiritual paths that appear much more splendid and much more clever than anything which accompanied the birth of Christ. All this is misguided; it concentrates on the question of “how” instead of the question “why.”  We can easily get overwhelmed.  How are we to carry out all the tasks laid upon us; how are we to plan our next year; how shall we find the strength both for securing our economic needs and in [...]

PRAYER: Prayers For Reconciliation Within The Home, by Edward Hays

June 25, 2012

A Prayer in a Time of Anger and Separation Lord, you who expressed your divine anger in fire, brimstone, and lightning, look down with understanding upon my anger.  I am in pain — a wound in my heart caused by another is the source of this suffering.  That heart of mine, Lord of Hearts, is filled with anger so that I am unable to be loving and caring.  I feel a need to return injury for injury, pain for pain, and so cannot truly desire to forgive the other. Lord, you and I both know that such an attitude is wrong, yet it is very real and its pain overflows into the rest of my life.  Before I can come to the point of wanting to forgive — and to be forgiven if that is necessary — I must find an antidote for the poison of this [...]