20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. ~ 2 Corinthians 5:20
Day 5 - Be Reconciled
Central to the Gospel is the redeeming work of Christ in the cross. This work that began in Christ, the reconciling love of God towards those who had so grievously rebelled against him, would find its continuation in the tangible and visible community of the redeemed. In Christ, God became a man and united heaven and earth in order that those who walk on earth may be able to continue the ministry of heaven.
What Christ left the apostles was his true presence. This presence, now entrusted to the church, would be the chosen vehicle and method of the continuation of this ministry. That God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself would now be seen in the fact that God was now in the church reconciling humanity through Christ's presence in it. It is imperative that this reconciling work not be detached from its corporeal expression in the church.
Paul here was writing to those who had already put their faith in Christ, yet were now estranged from him and his companions who were carrying the message of the Gospel. This fragmented relationship gave way to a disconnect from God's purposes towards them. To be estranged from God's ambassadors and community was to be estranged from God himself. Alternatively, to be reconciled to them was to be reconciled in Christ to God.
There is an urgency in Paul which invites his pleading with this fragmented community. Reconciliation and unity are not subsidiary realities to the Gospel, but at the core of salvation and what it means to be the church. If God was in Christ to reconcile the world to himself, and he is now in the church, then he must be at work within the church to reconcile men one to another.
God continues to work to reconcile the community of the redeemed and the church is still his chosen method in revealing himself. The message of salvation is incapable of being disconnected from its incarnation in the community of Christ. As Christ works through to us to plead to the world, he is also at work among us in a similar way with the plea, 'be reconciled to God,' and with it, 'be reconciled with each other.’
Ours is an age hungry for the healing of broken relationships. The church is tasked with the job of taking up the deepest conflicts of the world into itself and to confront both sides there with the forgiving, transforming power which breaks and remakes them into a new community, with a new hope and a new calling.
What are the deep and overwhelming conflicts and broken areas in our communities that cannot be solved without the church in our city working together? The refugee crisis, foster care, education, the homeless. Find out where collaboration is already happening in your city and find ways to support it. If this is not happening then what is your part?
Lord, hear the prayers of your people and bring the hearts of believers together. Give us the strength to unite together in common mission, serving the most broken and vulnerable in our communities. Amen