Presbyterians Today

SEP-OCT 2016

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ISTOCK .COM 22 SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016 | Pr e s by te r i a n s To d ay R econciliation is at the heart of Christian faith. It is arguably the most radical and transforming work done by God and practiced in our own lives. In 2 Corinthians 5:19 the apostle Paul teaches us that through Christ, God was "reconciling the world to himself " and calls us to a ministry of reconciliation with each other. But what does reconciliation mean? Does it mean we forgive and forget? Or convince others that we are right? Reconciliation is more than just simply getting along. It's a way of living that allows us—and others—to thrive. It's an invitation to whole- ness in our relationships with God, ourselves, each other, and our earth. Reconciliation doesn't depend on punishment to even the score, but is a restorative process that creates fair and just relationships. "Reconciliation is a process where we take action to address or undo any structural or systemic sources of injustice and inequality that are the result of brokenness," says David Hooker, professor of the practice of conflict transformation and peace- building at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame. The essence of reconciliation is rela- tionship, which is porous and moving. When relationship is harmed between or within communities, identity groups, individuals, or other entities, a wound occurs. If that wound is left unattended, deeper trauma can happen. The longer wounds fester, the more likely it is that we will inflict similar wounds on others. "If we do not transform our pain, we will most assuredly transmit it," writes the Franciscan priest Richard Rohr in his book Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality. Goal or process? Reconciliation can be a goal that we work toward that sets things right for the future. But sometimes it may seem impossible to achieve that goal. In these cases reconciliation can be MENDING RELATIONSHIPS Following God's call to reconciliation BY SHANNON BECK

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