As we walked down the aisle of the store, a loud bellowing voice from behind us shouted, “Gentlemen?” We all turned around, a very brief moment of sizing each other up, then the moment was quickly interrupted as the fellow behind us made a witty, smart aleck comment. A lively, warm exchange ensued, and ended when agreement was struck to get together a couple hours later.
The thing is, my companions had been out of relationship with this guy – by his own initiating – for close to five years. It was abrupt, it was painful, and I think most assumed it would never be reconciled. And yet, here they were, some three hours later, sitting around reminiscing and enjoying each other’s company.
Reconciliation, when or how it happens, is always transformational. It is an invitation to begin again. It is an opportunity to not only choose a new path, but to intentionally walk together.
Reconciliation is not the same thing as resolution. Past actions, differences, and disagreements are a part of the narrative between people. It is not a matter of erasing a mistake on a piece of paper – the actions did in fact happen, and as such are written in ink in our story.
Yet all of us are invited to begin a new chapter with those we have been out of relationship with. All of us can intentionally choose to walk a new path again with those we walked with at one time. Repentance, mutually taking responsibility or a form of accountability in one way or another, may be part of the journey.
Reconciliation is about accepting the invitation to once again be in relationship and to be intentional about continuing to walk together. There is no higher call as people of faith, nothing more central to God’s mission, than for us to be in relationship…than to be reconciled with each other and through Christ to God.