Lent: Week Three

“Ah, Holy Jesus”

Lo, the Good Shepherd for the sheep is offered; the slave hath sinned, and the Son hath suffered.  For our atonement, while we nothing heeded, God interceded.

United Methodist Hymn # 289 words by Johann Heermann

2 Corinthians 5:16-21

“And God has committed to us the word of Reconciliation.”  – 2 Corinthians 5:18b

peace wall in BelfastI come from Belfast and resulting from “our Troubles” in parts of our city are walls that keep Protestants and Catholic families apart.  In some places a protestant household backs onto Catholic home divided only by a “Peace wall.”  It is a contradiction that since we have had a relative peace the number of peace walls have quadrupled   Why?  Because we have a peace, but not a reconciliation.

Realizing this, a “word of Reconciliation” has come.  A group of Christians called the Peace Pilgrims, have moved into the neighbourhood to live among the divided people to be living examples of the word of Reconciliation.

20141001_080223When I was in Bethlehem late last year the size of the wall of separation around the little town shocked me.  It was the evidence of separation and protection to keep the other away from us, which never results in peace nor reconciliation. Strangely they are regarded as a temporary measure, but from my experience of peace walls they are easy to construct but take forever to knock down.

“The word of reconciliation” is the Cross of Christ.  He speaks to us about breaking down the walls that separate us, with God and humanity.  His self-sacrifice challenges us to break down the barriers of hostility and division as we offer the healing of broken relationships that were based on hostility and alienation now transformed into peace and relationship with God and others, through the Cross of Christ.

Prayer

Lord, the Gospel is reconciliation and reconciliation is the Gospel.  Lord, we seek your wisdom and strength to work on breaking down the barriers that divide us, that we replace them with communities of welcome and tolerance of difference.  Amen.

Devotion written by Rev. Brian Anderson

Photographs:

The wooden wall, a project of the YWCA of Jerusalem, photograph taken by Rev. Kristen L. Brown

The wall in Belfast Ireland, provided by Rev. Brian Anderson

The wall in Bethlehem near Checkpoint 300 separates Bethlehem from other parts of Bethlehem , the wall was painted over, white washed, in 2014 before the visit of the Pope Francis, photograph taken by Rev. Kristen L. Brown

 

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