Friday, July 10, 2009

Reconciliation IN CHRIST

In a recent Outlook article, Princeton Seminary demonstrated why I get so much grief from my brothers and sisters when I begin to talk about reconciliation. Like "justice," reconciliation has lost its primary defining characteristic, and become some sort of self-defining end on its own.

Reconcilation is not about understanding the other; it is not about warm feelings. Justice is not about the world living up (or down, as the case more usually would be) to my standards of fairness. Neither reconciliation nor justice mean anything without their defining referent: in Christ.

Reconciliation in Christ is not about being proud of my identity; it is losing my identity, and being solely identified with Jesus Christ. I am not a white Christian; I am a Christian who happens to be white. I am not an Anglo-Saxon Christian; I am a Christian who happens to (predominantly) be Anglo-Saxon. The fact that our identity puts Christ LAST should tell us about His true place in Christendom; for reconciliation to be real, Christ must be FIRST. Christ must be ALL.

So many of our problems as a denomination come from this most toxic vestige of the church as a social policeman-- that Christ is only an appendix to our cultural identity, rather than the identity which leads us out of our own culture, and into the Kingdom of God. Instead of celebrating what we were, reconciliation is a recognition that culture is our identity no longer-- that Christ has transformed us so that there is no Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female. If we are ever to be one, it is only oneness IN JESUS CHRIST.

This is the radical reformation of our time in Western culture-- to preach that the blood of Jesus Christ can cleanse all sin, heal all divisions, and unify all peoples. The blood of Jesus Christ is God's plan for the fullness of time, to bring all things back together in Him. That radical reconciliation is only possible through the Savior-- but if the Savior owns us, we are that reconcilation's ambassadors.

1 comment:

  1. Because I was not raised in a PC(USA) church, when I joined one I used to say I am not a Presbyterian I am a Christian who happens to go to a Presbyterian church. I now realize that goes much deeper than I thought. That means I must be a "new creation" At our Ash Wednesday service which was attended by many children, you had just explained that the tab collar you were wearing was a symbol of a slave. A child piped up and said "are you a slave?" You said, "Yes, I am a slave to Jesus Christ" It is through the Strength of our OWNER that we can be His ambassadors.

    In Christ's Love,Pat