Sunday, April 14, 2013

Life at the Intersection blog post for April 12 - Michael Cobbler column

Easter peace and blessings to you all! As I bask in the joy of this glorious season, I have been reflecting on the relationship between resurrection and reconciliation. In that process of prayer and study, I found a likely intersection - John 21:15-19 - when Jesus and Peter were having a "post-breakfast conversation."

The resurrected Jesus was having a "one-to-one" meeting with the one who claimed to not to be in relationship with him a couple of weeks before. Reconciliation was going to happen, but not without some pointed questions. Jesus asks the first question in a relational tone, "Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?" Jesus is not simply asking "any Simon" this question. He is asking "Simon, son of John" the love question! Peter responds, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you," but Jesus returns that response with a command (albeit tenderly) to act for and with the ones whom Jesus loves, three times over! Feed my sheep, tend my lambs is an invitation to carry forth the power of the resurrection with the tools of reconciliation, repairing broken relationships, creating new relationships, and fashioning a future led and fed by God that we couldn't even imagine ten years ago. This "ministry of reconciliation" is leading us into new and powerful understandings and appreciations of life together, with anti-bullying trainings, marriage-matters campaigns, and Reconciled in Christ congregations and institutions. We are working at the intersection of resurrection and reconciliation - and it works!

There is a poem by Wendell Berry that speaks to our capacity to act as a people of resurrection and reconciliation, called "Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front." While the poem starts with a brief reflection on the path of greed, fear and their consequences, it then moves to free-wheeling invitations to love God, the world, and humankind, such as: "Love someone who does not deserve it," and "Go with your love to the fields. Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head in her lap." The poem concludes with the statement: "Practice resurrection."

"Practice resurrection!" are my watchwords for this present season and beyond, for it calls me and you to action, following the One who is the resurrection, with acts and works of reconciliation, for our history need not be our destiny. Whether we are leading or are being led (as Jesus implied to Peter in John 21:18-19), we are called to follow Jesus, for to follow him is to know him. As the wise preachers would say, "I don't know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future!" Ask yourself today, "How am I practicing resurrection, and how am I embodying my love for Jesus in direct action with or for the other?" It is a question that will keep us connected, in love and justice, at the intersection of resurrection and reconciliation.

Next week, let's look at the tension of "competing circumstances" in intersection work. Jesus is risen, Alleluia!!!

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