Thursday, April 29, 2010
So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Matthew 5:23-24
Yesterday I participated in an informal and general conversation about Native ministries and the particular issues faced by Native people on the East Coast of the US. Each region and tribe has particular issues. We also touched on relationships in the church that have not fared well over the years and how failed relationships can really halt the forward progress of any ministry. It became more and more clear in this chat that reconciliation was so necessary to the present and future work. We recognized there are so many people who could benefit from a regional gathering of Native people. And we would want to find ways to reconcile and be reconciled to one another.
The words of Matthew 5 become even clearer. How our offerings can be inhibited by our lack of reconciliation. How our best efforts can be clouded and slowed if we are taking sides against another, if we are broken and fractured by cults of personality and power. All of us succumb to taking sides and all of us are guilty of anger and division. Clearly, Jesus understood, even at this early point in his ministry, that division was the biggest barrier to following God. The biggest barrier to faithful service.
Today, I want to remember to set my gifts down at the altar and seek out those with whom I need to reconcile. The work of reconciliation is the precursor to all faithful service and I want to be God's faithful servant. Pride and arrogance will have to be set aside and a new level of humility will have to lived into. But I believe that God is always willing to empower us to reconcile and renew relationships. God's activity in Christ was to be reconciled to the world and the world, through him might be made new. May we all trust God today to help us in the work of reconciliation today.