Be reconciled with God
Maintain and deepen unity
In the last month’s talk we spoke about the fact that unity is not an external matter, but an inner relationship that connects people with one another. We have seen that such a relationship has to be renewed and deepened again and again. Therefore, we were reminded by Sr. Sybilla to be vigilant in order to maintain and deepen this oneness. Today we want to think about how this can be done concretely: maintain and deepen the unity.
Convert us … (GL 266)
During the Easter period of penance – commonly referred to as Lent by us – the focus for many is on fasting and renunciation. That is certainly not bad either. But the liturgy suggests another focus: a time of conversion and reconciliation. When we are marked with the ash cross, the priest says: Convert and believe in the gospel! And in the 2nd reading on Ash Wednesday we heard the apostle Paul’s admonition: Be reconciled to God (2 Cor 5:20 ).
That should be our topic today: Reconciliation as a building block of unity.
We know from our own experience how quickly relationships are attacked or even destroyed in everyday life. Righteousness, selfishness, jealousy, arguments … change relationships and often destroy unity. This applies to relationships with one another as well as to relationships with God.
What is sin, we learned that as children in confession class. And based on the 10 commandments, concrete examples were given: not following the parents, hitting the other, taking something away from him, lying …
What is Unfortunate sin , we didn’t learn that in confessional lessons. But we have felt it in everyday life. When we lied to someone, we avoided them. The word sin and the word set apart have the same root. In sin, unity with God and, as a result, unity with one another is destroyed. The story of the first humans (Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel) in Gen 3 and 4 is a striking example of the destruction of unity. And since the first fall, we have had to deal with the power of evil. All the more important then is the apostle’s admonition to be reconciled to God and thus also to one another.
Forgive but don’t forget,
You probably know the phrase: forgive and forget. I cannot agree with this phrase. Certainly there are things that I can forget after the reconciliation. But I can certainly not forget many things. But I don’t have to forget them either. Reconciliation offers me a new quality of life that includes and surpasses previous arguments and injuries. Yes I know you hurt me but my love for you is greater than any guilt. That is reconciliation.
God wants reconciliation
How often does the Holy Scriptures tell us that we humans have turned away from God and broken our covenant with him. In the Old Testament the people of Israel turned away from God again and again and ran after strange idols. The most impressive example of God’s readiness for reconciliation is found in the New Testament in the parable of the prodigal son (Lk 15). The father answers the lost unity between father and son with his arms outstretched. This is how reconciliation works. God’s love is stronger than our guilt. Hence the apostle Paul’s invitation: be reconciled to God (2 Cor 5:20).
Cut up and knotted together
Finally, I would like to share with you one more wonderful experience that people can have when they are ready for reconciliation. This experience can best be portrayed in pictures. Two children sit 3 meters apart. Both hold a string in their hand as a sign of their relationship (friendship). Suddenly there is an argument. One of them cuts the cord with a pair of scissors. But the two make up again and the cord is knotted together again. This happens several times. I have often shown this to the children in confessional classes and asked the question: Has anything changed? The first time the children didn’t notice anything. But they soon discovered that the numerous knots had brought both children closer together.
This is how reconciliation works: people move closer together – with one another and with God.
Such is reconciliation
Like a feast after long grief
like a fire in the night.
An open gate in a wall
opened for the sun.
Like a letter after a long silence
like an unexpected greeting.
Like a leaf on a dead branch
Ref .: Such is reconciliation
such must be true peace.
Such is reconciliation
so is forgiven and forgiven. (2x)
Like a rain in the desert
fresh dew on arid land.
Sounds of home for the missing,
old enemies hand in hand.
Like a key in jail
as in distress – land in sight.
Like a way out of distress
like a radiant face.
Like a word of dead words lips,
like a look of hope
Like a light on steep cliffs
like a continent rediscovered.
Like the spring, the morning
Like a song like a poem.
Like life like love
Like God Himself the true light
Prelate Dr. Stefan Dybowski
March 10th, 2021 Monthly talk, St. Augustinus Monastery, Berlin-Lankwitz