The Path to Reconciliation

Author: Patricia Underwood
March 07, 2019

As we begin our Lenten journey, it is appropriate to think about the term “forgiveness.” After all, Jesus died for the forgiveness of sins, not just in that moment on the cross, but for all time. Thus, God’s grace was freely given – a gift, not to be earned by our works but extended to those who believe. While no payment is required for a gift, it should never-the-less elicit a joyous gratitude that inspires us to live our lives according to the teachings of Christ.

As I was reflecting on what Christ has taught us, I remembered a sermon in which Rev. Morgan suggested, that “God has given us the ministry of reconciliation, it is our calling,” (J. Morgan, 9/10/17). This teaching seems so needed in our current climate of discord, incivility and denigration. Facilitating reconciliation, one to another and to the community of faith, is not easy. The bouquet pictured here is a reminder that reconciliation requires more than forgiveness.

In early Christian times, symbols were used to convey hidden meanings. The fish meant “Jesus, Son of God, Savior”, while the dove represented the “Holy Spirit”. In Victorian times, people often used flowers to communicate secret messages. The star of Bethlehem flower represents the reconciliationwe are called to promote,but we need the whole bouquet to fully understand what is required. Forgiveness is a key component – letting go of negative emotions and forswearing vengefulness. It is represented by the white tulip and reminds us of Christ’s words of forgiveness from the cross. The cedar reflects the “courage and strength” Jesus had on that last night when he walked the path that God had laid out for him, even knowing the pain and slow death it would bring. 

This path to reconciliation included the utmost demonstration of humility (bluebells) and agape love (acacia). As Second Corinthians 5:19 tells us “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them.he has committed to us the message of reconciliation” (NIV).
Prayer: Father in heaven, we thank you for your most wonderful gift of grace. With grateful hearts, help us to be open to your call and grant us the courage to humbly walk the paths you would have us take to spread your message of forgiveness and love throughout our world. 
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