“Who are you,” asks the children’s catechism. The response is, “I am a child of God.” We are then to know that we are children of God because we belong to God who loves us. As we grow up and continue to learn about our faith, there is another answer for this question of what makes us children of God. In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus says peacemakers are children of God. In Paul’s letter to the Corinthian church, he explains that our ministry is the same as Christ’s ministry: reconciliation.
The Prince of Peace calls us to become peacemakers and to work for reconciliation just as Christ does. This theme runs through the Biblical witness regarding God’s intention for humankind.
When I was a teenager one of the popular songs in church was, “Let peace begin with me, let this be the moment now….” This sentiment and calling still tugs at me.
When I preside at the communion of the church in Christ’s name and at God’s table, it is a daunting experience. I truly believe that everyone is invited. Which means that sometimes I am uncomfortable when I think about who might sit next to me in coming reign of Christ. Maybe the person next to me bullied me. Maybe I thought that person across the table was mean. What if I am afraid of that person? What if that one there did something really heinous and violent? What if I just think they’re snobs and won’t like me so I don’t like them?
See the problem? That thinking is all about me, and not about the life and work of Christ. It is all about becoming God the Judge instead allowing God to be my loving parent.
The miracle of grace we have in Christ is this: no one is excluded and yet everything evil is purged by God such that the guests of God are blameless before their host through the life and faithfulness of Jesus Christ. Even me.
I am welcomed and healed as well. Healed of my hatred,
my judgements, my desire for punishment for those evildoers, and ultimately, healed of my own evil-doings. Everything that disrupts peace is removed so that I can see
both the image of God in my fellow dinner guests and the
image of God in the mirror as well.
We come to the table of grace now not because we are already free of the grip of sin but because we know none of us can be eternally in its grasp. We belong to God, who loves us. We have been reconciled to God in Christ. We come to be nourished for the job of making peace. We come to practice peacemaking at this table. We come to remember that we all belong together.
Bring your “despicable me.” I’ll bring mine. Let peace begin, here, now, between us.
In Christ, through Christ, for Christ,