The work of reconciliation is only sustainable inside the community of all who seek to be reconciled without exception. We need each other. We are a body of holy revolution and renewal, growing “with a growth that is from God.” We need each other to see the work finished.
The new world is not complete without each of us, and it cannot be completed without all of us. To be reconciled ourselves we must truly embrace and enact a world where no person is thrown away or forgotten. This radical act of re-creation, renewal, and reconciliation can only fully mature in the midst of a people who have dedicated themselves to seeing it through.
The call of Christ in the world is to reconcile all people to each other. This does not mean that we must all get along, or that we must stay in community with everyone. Rather we must seek to live into these principles, fortified and supported by those around us, welcoming all who wish to join.
This new welcoming process is not simply, “We’d love for you to be a part of God’s family in Christ. Come, be reconciled with everyone.” Rather, we extend welcome as God has always extended it: by offering forgiving love to all. That is our work. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:19: “God was reconciling the world to himself through Christ, by not counting people’s sins against them. He has trusted us with this message of reconciliation” (CEB).
The new world is not a prison; it is a garden. We that plant hope and water seeds of that which is to come stand together in joy—reconciled to a life abundant, without walls, in full knowledge of what came before, and ready to love the world as it is grows.
Where have we sought to weed out the “other” from the garden? What could an inclusive garden look like over the carefully manicured garden of empire?
Hosea can be a difficult book with troublesome metaphors. This prophet is called to live with an unfaithful wife as an image of how Israel is unfaithful to God. Yet even in this initial statement of judgment, God includes a promise of restoration. Psalm 85 appeals to God’s steadfast love. God has become angry with the people for their unfaithfulness, and the people appeal for God’s mercy, which they are confident they will receive. The Colossians reading warns against replacing or even supplementing the simple truth of the gospel with human wisdom, religious rules, or anything else. We have fellowship with Christ through our faith. Jesus teaches us to ask God for what we need and for what we want just as we would ask a human parent.
Read Hosea 1:2-10. How is God reminding you of your covenant relationship?
Read Psalm 85. When have you needed to pray for restoration in your life, in your relationships with the wider community, or in your relationship with God?
Read Colossians 2:6-19. Paul teaches us the value of community. How can you help make the community more just?
Read Luke 11:1-13. How has praying regularly changed you? If you do not pray regularly, start a practice now. Look for the ways it changes you.
Respond by posting a prayer.
This season, Whitney R. Simpson has given us the gift we must open: a clear, accessible invitation to connect with the divine spark that is within us. This is the best present: being present for Jesus’ birth, God made human.”
Learn more about our newest Advent resource, Fully Human, Fully Divine here.