calendar May 18, 2011 in Assembly, Bishop messages

‘We Are Ambassadors of Reconciliation’

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the ministry of reconciliation to us. (2 Corinthians 5:18-19)

In her sermon during worship, Bishop Claire Burkat opened the 2011 assembly of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod reminding those present of their vocation as ambassadors of reconciliation for Christ.

“Think of the implications of this in your role as a Christian,” she said. “You are, in the eyes of the Church, an official of the highest rank representing Christ himself.”

While most of us do not have credentials to serve as “ambassadors,” Burkat indicated that it is the particular contexts in which we live, work, and serve that make us perfect for the job because we are each positioned at the center of a unique constellation of local human networks.

Paul’s job description for us is clear.

“It’s about reconciliation, folks,” she said. “It means to reconcile those who are at odds with each other, to return to a state of harmony, and receive a former enemy into good favor.”

And, the Church must model reconciliation at all times.  She revealed a little known, and terrible, part of Reformation history that 16th century Lutherans persecuted Mennonite Christians, torturing and murdering them because of doctrinal differences.

“Only recently have the 21st century Lutherans acknowledged what happened, confessed the sin of this hateful period and asked for forgiveness,” said Burkat.

A public apology for the wrong-doings of our Lutheran ancestors was to follow the opening worship service.

“The church stands as a powerful witness that reconciliation and new creation is part of God’s plan even after centuries of denial and division,” she said.

Each ambassador of Christ has an equally critical and creative role to play in the ministry of reconciliation in their particular context.

“Whatever it is, you do it. And when you do it with quiet intentionality, you can be sure you are living out your calling as ambassadors of Christ.”

– The Rev. Sue (“RevWriter”) Lang



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