This year’s Special Offering theme for Reconciliation Ministry is the second in a three-part series entitled “Be Reconciled: Move, Heal, Bound Together.” These are simple words describing incredibly worthwhile and hard work. The message of Christ consistently beckons us toward each other, pushing our notions of what it means to live as the one body of Christ. “…First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.” (Matthew 24) Or, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On this hangs all the law and the prophets.” (Mathew 39 -40) Throughout our faith tradition, Christians have been called to move against our nature to be at enmity with one another. We are admittedly a counter-cultural movement.
So we find today Disciples in Ferguson, meeting in serious dialogue to learn and to act together to confront the conditions that uncovered a chasm of racial divide and inequity in their community and beyond. These conversations have been uncomfortable yet movement and progress are occurring. Within numerous settings of our churches and the communities where we serve, intercultural and interfaith partnerships are advancing advocacy for neighbors historically underserved by policies and practices that perpetuate poverty and hopelessness. The Moral Monday movement, founded by Disciple pastor William Barber III, has led to a peoples’ movement that interrogates who we say we are and what we are called to do. Pastors in Kansas City, Missouri continue hold sway over oppressive wage and lending practices decisions after having forged relationships with community leaders and policy makers.
The message of Christ and the message of the moment is that we are called to do the same thing in different ways. We are many gifts in one body called to be reconciled – to liberate those held captive by the frailties of human systems. Reconciliation Ministry equips and empowers the Church to confront systemic racism and poverty – systems that limit instead of loose the bonds of injustice. Our collective work is not meant to denigrate or condemn the hard work of our ancestors. Instead we are emboldened by their hard work and the model of Christ to strengthen the bonds between us in a unified witness for Christ.
Your giving to Reconciliation Ministry empowers the Church to advance healing in our communities through safe and intentional dialogue. Through our training and granting programs together we move from debate to dialogue. This fund equips our regional camp and conference programs to deepen our youth’s capacity to be the leaders the future is calling in their representation of the complexity and diversity of our nation, world and Church.
In Christ and for his sake may our continued movement together be so. . .