“So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us…” – 2 Corinthians 5
Today, while the East Coast is bracing for another winter storm, and news anchors are talking about epic low temperatures, here at Maul-Hall we’re enjoying warm hearts and happy grandchildren.
Our Richmond family rolled in late Saturday evening; then we all sat together in church Sunday morning. It’s impossible to describe how wonderful it is to have a pew-full of family in worship together.
RECONCILIATION: Rebekah preached a phenomenally powerful sermon on “reconciliation,” and I couldn’t help but pray for all the families I know who are waiting – hope against hope – for healing in broken family relationships. And I couldn’t help but feel a surge of gratitude and overwhelming joy for the fact of our family unity today; Andrew and Alicia, Naomi and Craig. Seriously, friends, I cannot account for this serendipity in any way other than God.
Rebekah’s message focused on our opportunity – no, our responsibility – as followers of Jesus, to carry God’s message of reconciliation into this world. One of the most effective ways we can do this is by demonstrating God’s reconciling love in our own relationships; not just in families, but within the body of Christ.
Jesus pointed out on more than one occasion that “love one-another” is the foundational and most compelling evidence that people are his followers.
Therefore, when “Christians” eschew love in favor of pointing out one-another’s doctrinal deficiencies (and we all have them), I am personally left wondering how such blowhardery could possibly fit the Jesus criteria for “follower”?
Again – and this is something we’ve been discussing for a while now – let’s view this idea through the lens of God’s broad initiative of love as revealed through scripture. Reconciliation is the ministry of restoring relationships; Jesus has charged us – specifically the church – with the responsibility of demonstrating what that looks like.
This past week has seen such sad evidences of how broken this world is, and how strong a foothold evil has in so many places. Young people – good, idealistic, live-for-others 20-somethings – the victims of hate.
“We can clearly see what reconciliations does not look like,” Rebekah pointed out.
EVIDENCE: So what does reconciliation look like? As for me, I can see two especially strong pieces of evidence:
- First, this amazing church family we’re a part of. WFPC has moved from a place of pain, sadness, conflict, and public discord… to being a congregation that clearly and eloquently demonstrates God’s message to the Wake Forest community, by living reconciliation out loud, and by embracing it.
Secondly, it looks like my family – Derek, Rebekah, Andrew, Alicia, Naomi, and Craig. Nobody ever said life would be easy, or that raising a family would be a simple exercise in applied love and good intentions. But it is wonderful; it is beyond our imaginations; it is good, so good. And so Rebekah and I pinch ourselves sometimes, just to say, “Really? Did we ever see this coming? Did we have any idea growing up would be this beautiful?”
“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has GIVEN US the ministry of reconciliation…”
It’s a challenge! How about it?
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.