Where True Reconciliation and Leadership Begins
Devotional Thought fo the Day:
2 Euodia and Syntyche, please, I beg you, try to agree as sisters in the Lord. 3 And you too, my faithful partner, I want you to help these women; for they have worked hard with me to spread the gospel, together with Clement and all my other fellow workers, whose names are in God’s book of the living. 4 May you always be joyful in your union with the Lord. I say it again: rejoice! 5 Show a gentle attitude toward everyone. The Lord is coming soon.
Philippians 4:2-5 (TEV)
10 By the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ I appeal to all of you, my friends, to agree in what you say, so that there will be no divisions among you. Be completely united, with only one thought and one purpose.
1 Corinthians 1:10 (TEV)
1 I, who am an elder myself, appeal to the church elders among you. I am a witness of Christ’s sufferings, and I will share in the glory that will be revealed. I appeal to you 2 to be shepherds of the flock that God gave you and to take care of it willingly, as God wants you to, and not unwillingly. Do your work, not for mere pay, but from a real desire to serve. 3 Do not try to rule over those who have been put in your care, but be examples to the flock. 4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the glorious crown which will never lose its brightness.
1 Peter 5:1-4 (TEV)
Whenever on of us had a fit of anger or bitterness or behaved in a manner unbefitting a Christian, Father Gilbert asked him to go prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, so that he could examine his conscience face to face with Jesus and allow himself to be calmed by the Lord’s gentle presence. ( from God or Nothing A Conversation on Faith, by Robert Cardinal Sarah)
The idea of division in the church is not new. Yes, many denominations and associations (brotherhoods, synods, organizations, etc., there) are facing bitter division, my own synod included. There is a battle fo; there is a battle often seen as a battle for survival, and for what we treasure. At times, such a rivalry can be compared to a high school football game, with post-victory celebrations as full of expletives and spewing hatred. I’ve heard and read the promises that we will get them, that they will be crushed. And the despair of those who try to find hope in defeating those who were victorious.
I’ve been there, seen it, lived in, to my shame and grief I’ve been part of it.
And we all know better. Or if we don’t, we need to leave the leadership of churches to someone else.
I once jokingly said that the solution to reconciliation of any large group of Lutherans was to gather them in a room, ply them with free coffee, free Lutheran beverages and accidently lock the doors, chaining them closed. To only open them when every person in the room was able to commune and utter the words, “the Lord is with you” and bless each other with “Christ’s peace is with you” and take the sacrament together, without hesitation, and with joy.
Of course, I would rather do it without locking the doors, to see it freely happen. To be able to say God is with you to those who are in opposition, instead of saying the words from Romeo and Juliet, “the plague be on both your houses.” To quote Lincoln quoting Jesus, “A house divided cannot stand!”
The only hope is reconciliation. The only hope is decisions made, not on a majority vote, but on consensus.
The challenge is that such reconciliation means up giving up the idea of supervision by power and authority, and replacing it with service, with washing the feet of our enemies and adversaries, as seeing their salvation and reconciliation with God as the ultimate goal, as opposed to our group being in power.
And it means instead of going back to the bargaining table, or the floor of the debate, going to the altar, going to our communal refuge. As the Catholic Cardinal noted in his work, allowing Jesus to calm us with HIS presence.
Finding His mercy, finding His love and healing, finding that in being reconciled to Him, we are, miraculously, reconciled to each other. It is from that peace; it is from this point where we learn that washing each other’s feet is more powerful than any resolution. That the presence of Christ is more powerful than any blog, or any political machine. That true worship breaks out when mercy is the basis of our hope.
Anxious, upset, worried? I live in that as well… and the place to be rid of it has some bread and a cup of wine, that is so much more… it is our Christ, our Savior, our Lord, our Healer, our Brother.
Lord, break us and reconcile us, transform us by your presence, into your image. And may your glory, reflected from us as we heal, bring hope to the world. AMEN!
Posted on June 11, 2016, in Devotions and tagged Abiding in Christ, Altar, Communion, divided church, LCMS, LCMS elections, LCMS president, Synod in Convention. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.