A personal reflection by Allen Little Parish Clerk
Throughout life there are many situations when things need to be put right. A Wellington businessman used the bi line in his TV advertisements that ”It’s the putting right that counts”…Every day we face trials, tribulations and challenges which require a response. Ephesians 4:32 (GNT) Instead, be kind and tender-hearted to one another, and forgive one another, as God has forgiven you through Christ. A component of the recent Waitarere Commission was that we engage in some meaningful reconciliation…To reconcile is to make right or to harmonize. It involves different parties coming to the same position through change. Obviously, if enemies are to be reconciled, there must be some kind of change, or friendship will be impossible.
As I prepared this reflection a close friend reminded me of Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. (Let us reason together)
Christian reconciliation is the idea of being made right with God. To be right with God we must be right with each other. For us at Levin Uniting we have a challenge and that is how to put things right at Waitarere. Varied backgrounds, natural antagonisms, old grudges, none of it matters to those who have been born again. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” Galatians 3:28. Ephesians 2:14-16 emphasizes the reconciliation that God has established between Jews and Gentiles: “For he himself is our peace… that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.”
Jesus said “Blessed are the peacemakers,” Matthew 5:9 He made a way to exchange our sinful, broken lives for forgiven, connected lives, replacing enmity with intimacy. God has pursued us and sought reconciliation. “He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love” Song of Solomon 2:4.
So how do we take the concept of being reconciled one with another to the next level. I don’t believe its about relitigation of the rights and wrongs of our Waitarere decision making processes. It seems to me we must faithfully engage in communication where we genuinely hear and understand each other. Dialogue needs to happen free from Angst, Hostility or Coercion. We need to strive for a fresh sense of restoration where goodwill once enjoyed, is no longer strained to breaking point. As Parish Clerk I am committed to helping our Parish through this, and I know Presbytery Central with Methodist Synod & UCANZ are there to support us on the pilgrimage. I will keep the church informed as we unravel the reconciliation process and share the journey. As reconciliation involves ‘listening and considering’, the Parish Council Team want to hear your views or insights. As we strive to find a positive way into the future it’s important for us to work together in unity, pursuing the common good as Servants of Christ in this place.
Its not healthy for us to cease speaking with or listening to each other; with communication deemed too awkward. It seems we have become estranged from each other and friendship or harmony needs to be restored. We must strive for Unity and peace in our fellowship because Mark 3:25 says “If a family divides itself into groups which fight each other, that family will fall apart”.