Peace of God
“Jesus doesn’t offer peace of mind. He offers the peace of reconciliation.” —Diane Roth, “Living the Word” in The Christian Century (3/14/2018).
This response by Diane Roth to Lectionary Readings for the Second Sunday in Easter from John 20:19-31 is another wake-up call for us to reconcile with those with whom we are having difficulty: loving that neighbor who is so different; loving our relatives who look at our political scene wearing a very different pair of glasses; seeing Christ in the most unlovable person with whom we work; loving those whose belief systems are the exact opposite of ours. I could go on for several more pages of examples.
A verse that haunts me that is often said at the Offertory is Matthew 5:23-24: “So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.”
Family systems models tells us that we must make every possible attempt to get back into relationship with any family members from whom we are estranged.
The heart of twelve-step recovery is looking at the resentments we have toward others, recognizing our part in causing the estrangement from others, and then making amends, seeing how we are alike instead of seeing our differences.
All of these teachings are reminding us that when we cannot love our neighbor, it is hard to love God; for the God of our understanding always also lives in our neighbor, just as God lives in us.
This is an important message for us to share with spiritual friends. We may not be the trained person who is able to help our friends reconcile with each other; but we are called to share our experience that reconciliation with our neighbor is a straight pathway to the peace of God.
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