Aloha Friday Message – February 14, 2020 – Let’s Fix This

2007AFC021420 – Let’s Fix This

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     Matthew 5:23-24 23 So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.

Aloha nui loa, ʻŌmea! Grace and Peace to each of you from God our Father and our Lord, Jesus the Christ, in the Power of the Holy Spirit. Right at the outset I want to acknowledge that today is Valentine’s Day. A special shout-out to my lifetime Valentine Crucita with this very Special Post from the past. You romantics out there might remember this one. There is also this post from last year that tells about our “secret” for a Blesséd and Happy Marriage. Those of you who are married know that staying married requires work, and sometimes that work includes conciliation as well as reconciliation.

Let’s begin by looking at what those words mean and how they are used.

Conciliation and reconciliation are often cited as synonyms. When we try to conciliate, we try to counteract the anger or discontent in another person; we want to appease that person or persons, to soothe their feelings. Conciliation is an act of negotiating agreements with the goal of restoring peace and harmony by putting an end to discordant conflict. It is might be used in situations to describe the initiation of a peaceful relationship. Re-conciliation is quite similar in that the goal is to reclaim a relationship that has been injured by some offense that imperils the beneficial, pleasant, and compassionate relationship between persons. So, if we make concessions to people who feel we have wronged them in some way, we are being conciliatory. If we try to make recompense for some injury or insult, we are exercising the act of reconciliation as a restoration or renewal of good will where there had previously been antagonism or indifference. We try to make things better between us and others and at the same time try to make things better within our own life so that the causes of our offense(s) are eliminated. That’s a lot of language to take in, so I’d like to go back to something from The Moon Beam Network called …

Seven Key Words of Faith in God’s Forgiveness

The 7 R’s  (← Check it out!)

  1. Recognition
    • See there is a problem
    • Know that it is sin
    • Know that I am powerless against it
  2. Remorse
    • I regret the outcome of my actions
    • I trust in God’s understanding of my sorrow
  3. Repentance
    • I make a conscious decision to correct my thinking, my communications, and my actions
    • I make that decision public through my actions
  4. Reconciliation
    • I am resolved to restore the relationships with God and with my community that I have damaged through my sin
    • I seek and accept forgiveness from God and my community
  5. Reparation
    • I am willing to atone and to offer compensation for the damage I have caused
    • I gratefully acknowledge expiation of my sins
  6. Renewal
    • I am transformed by the renewal of my heart, my mind, and my actions.
    • I make it my resolve to avoid the kinds of circumstances that enabled me to sin
  7. Rejoicing
    • I rejoice in the restoration of a right relationship with God and my community.
    • I share my rejoicing freely and still, with due humility, show respect for others.

Here we can better understand that it just really isn’t enough to be sorry. Judas was sorry for betraying Christ, but he didn’t do anything to restore his status as an Apostle and a friend of Jesus. The termination of hostility, malicious acts, or betrayals of trust is only part of the process of reconciliation. Being sorry gives us a beginning toward admitting we acted wrongly, which then should prepare us to make an effort to make reparation for the offense(s) that damaged our relationships with others and with our own inner sense of Peace. We seek to offer atonement – apology, compensation, and amends – for the damage we have done. We are sorry for our errors and we make it our resolve to correct the behaviors that caused the offense. When we fail to respect common or prescribed standards of behavior, that is offensive, and we are to be accountable for such actions.

Now let’s go back to our key verse and see how Jesus’ instruction about reconciliation is structured. He begins with something his contemporaries would have found shocking (not surprising because much of his teaching upended the religiosity of the time). He tells his Disciples that if they are about to offer their gift at the altar and there recall that a brother or sister – and this means someone who is a Disciple, a member of Jesus’ church – has something against you, then they are to  leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift. In that society to whom Jesus preached, the external functions of worship were paramount and generally without regard for the internal motivations and irreverence of the individual. Jesus tells the Disciples that it is a greater impropriety to offer a sacrifice to God without first being well prepared externally and internally to offer sacrifice. The Apostle Paul spoke to this point as well when he said in 1 Corinthians 11:27-29 27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be answerable for the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Examine yourselves, and only then eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For all who eat and drink [in an unworthy manner] without discerning the body [of Christ] eat and drink judgment against themselves. Jesus words to the disciples about being reconciled first and then making an offering is the foreshadowing of what Paul later wrote to the Corinthians.

When we feel contempt or anger toward a fellow Disciple, that is a sin of Pride resulting in harsh and unwarranted judgment. Jesus, as always, takes it a step farther and tells us that if a brother or sister believes or has stated that we have wronged them, even if we feel certain that is not the case, we must make peace with that person; we must make amends for that actual or perceived harm. That is atonement.

“Atonement” is another term for reconciliation and comes from a Latin construct aduna – meaning “at one,” – and menta which forms a noun as the result of an action. Adunamenta there for is “at-one – ing” or unifying. Atonement is the unification or reunification with another. Jesus gave us a process for this type of reconciliation within the Church in Matthew 18:15-20 15 “If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one. 16 But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18 Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. 19 Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” Note that verse 20 applies to resolution of offenses within the Church, although it is usually quoted as an affirmation that Christ is with us wherever we are. Some scholars point out that there is an old tradition related by Rabbis that if two people were together discussing the Law, then the Sh’khinah was present and rested upon them – real, actual, but invisible – and just as true as when the Sh’khinah rested in the Holy of Holies. (← Check it out!) Note that it was just as true as when Jesus appeared to the Disciples after his resurrection, and this indwelling of God is what we can experience as presence of the Holy Spirit in and around us. That is why noting can separate us from the Love of God.

In the Holy Spirit, then, we can and should attempt to reach out to another entity – a person; a sibling, relative, or child; the Lord and his Church. First and foremost, we must do this when we know we have sinned against another; however, we also need to take notice that we are obliged to be aware of the perceptions of others in our community (family, work, church, school, etc.) who “has something against us.” Like many things Jesus said, this is hard! It requires humility (like HIS) to admit to ourselves that we might have offended someone. The temptation is to say, “Well, that’s her/his problem.” Jesus tells us it’s our problem, too. How can this be? “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Why should it be my responsibility to reconcile with someone else’s judgment of me?

As I started thinking about this message last Saturday, the topic and arrangement of the message began with yet another of the Old Timey Hymns I love so much. You may remember this one, too. In my heart it resonates as an instruction manual for The Great Commission. It’s called Rescue the Perishing. Please watch and listen. This presentation has the lyrics along with it. I’ve included the lyrics in the online version of this post if you’d like to take your time reviewing them. What a beautiful way to express how lovingly Jesus asks us to bring others to him, to be reconciled with each other, and – most importantly – to be reconciled with God. And what joy that brings to us and to those who hear the Word through us!

As the Apostle Paul says in Romans 5:10 10 For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more surely, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life. It is also our mission as the Apostle Paul explains in  2 Corinthians 5:17-19 17 So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. WOW, that’s so awesome!! The Apostle Paul uses an interesting word here for reconciliation – katallage {kat-al-lag-ay’}. It is an accounting term referring to the business of money changers and the exchanging equivalent values; or an adjustment of a difference, as in a restoration to favor. In the Gospel, it is the restoration of the approval by God of sinners who repent,  make reparation, and put their trust in the forgiveness of sins through the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Christ.

     Our sins are completely and totally (← Check it out!) paid for in exchange for his sacrifice. Everybody Ought to Know (↔ Music Link), don’t you agree? I mean He Owns the Cattle on a Thousand Hills (↔ Music Link) and because My Sins are GONE, (↔ Music Link) I want everyone I know to know what Jesus can do – he can reconcile us with God: Colossians 1:15-23 15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; 16 for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.

21 And you who were once estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his fleshly body through death, so as to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him— 23 provided that you continue securely established and steadfast in the faith, without shifting from the hope promised by the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven. I, Paul, became a servant of this gospel.

Our unity with God was broken in The Garden, but Jesus has restored it in us. We broke it. He fixed it. What a beautiful gift we are given to share!

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever —

at your service, Belovéd!

Please pray with us here at Share-a-Prayer.

Here are the lyrics for the hymn Rescue the Perishing

  1. Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
    Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave;
    Weep o’er the erring one, lift up the fallen,
    Tell them of Jesus, the mighty to save.

    • Refrain:
      Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
      Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save.
  2. Though they are slighting Him, still He is waiting,
    Waiting the penitent child to receive;
    Plead with them earnestly, plead with them gently;
    He will forgive if they only believe.
  3. Down in the human heart, crushed by the tempter,
    Feelings lie buried that grace can restore;
    Touched by a loving heart, wakened by kindness,
    Chords that were broken will vibrate once more.
  4. Rescue the perishing, duty demands it;
    Strength for thy labor the Lord will provide;
    Back to the narrow way patiently win them;
    Tell the poor wand’rer a Savior has died.

Frances J. Crosby, 1869

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Biblical languages inserts from Bible Hub (Bible Hub: Search, Read, Study the Bible in Many Languages) Visit at http://biblehub.com

Creative Commons License
Aloha Friday Messages by Charles O. Todd, III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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