We all live with brokenness. Our families, friends, community, state, country and world all reflect the reality of brokenness. It is important to bring conflict and differences together so they balance. God calls us to reconciliation, which means to repair, harmonize, settle and make things good again. Reconciliation breaks down the barriers created by brokenness. It is vital in our human relationships to be reconciled to those around us.
Reconciliation is personal and frequently opens us to unforeseen and unfamiliar blessings. For example, I could never have imagined as a child in rural Iowa, the gift of diversity I now find a blessing. Diversity, for me, was meeting someone who was not Norwegian! Now this Norwegian celebrates a family filled with children, grandchildren and a great grandchild who include African American, Yupik, Chippewa, Tlingit, Athabascan, Inupiat, Aleut, Swedish, Irish and Dutch heritages. I am reconciled to God’s gift of diverse family.
I also love and appreciate my brother and his partner of 35 years who are gay, and my two children with brain disorders, and my two without, and whatever diversity is a part of those who are my extended family.
Your experiences are not the same as mine. Every one of us has faced the need to make things good again in our lives and in our families. God challenges us to accept people and situations very different from ourselves. When we view someone as broken and un-repairable, we close the door to reconciliation. When we practice reconciliation we open ourselves to finding common ground.
As a child, my parents sponsored my aunt, uncle and their three children to immigrate from Norway to the United States. At first, everything was great, but soon there was brokenness and misunderstanding and my Aunt and Uncle moved to Oregon. For decades they never spoke, or when something was said, they were broken words. Upon our move to Oregon, my wife Laura and I made contact and were welcomed as long lost family. It took six years for us to convince my parents to reconcile with my aunt and uncle. Shortly before my mother was diagnosed with a terminal illness, they spent several days making things good again. As my mother neared death, a couple of months later, she kept repeating how special it was to be reconciled so she could die in peace.
Our life is a dance with brokenness and reconciliation. That dance occurs within ourselves, with one another, our world and our God. God always leaves the door open to reconciliation.
In a world which so often says “get even,” do we have the desire to practice reconciliation? Do we have the courage to move into the realm of hospitality and grace? What are the challenging opportunities for reconciliation in your life? Faith invites all who feel lost and broken to be reconnected! Love is lost in brokenness and restored in reconciliation.
Choose the way of repair, harmony and making things new again! It is God’s desired gift for our lives. Acts of reconciliation happen in many ways and totally change our lives and give us new beginnings.
• Pastor Larry Rorem is a retired minister of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, living in Juneau.