The College has taken time to lead students and staff in reflecting on Reconciliation and has given opportunities for students to empathise with Australia’s indigenous people in considering “more than a word – Reconciliation takes action”.
I can’t begin to consider what it means “to be reconciled” without thinking of something that has been significant in my faith development “being reconciled through Christ” which is helpful for framing how to approach reconciliation.
The other contexts of “reconciling” that quickly come to mind are:
reconciling the cash register at the end of the workday to ensure that it is balanced – something that brought a level of apprehension for my wife when she worked at Woolworths in her teenage years
a valued relationship in need of restoring – which requires admitting wrongdoing and forgiving others, expressing love for another person as well as a willingness to humble yourself in order to restore the relationship. Reconciling a relationship requires dealing with pride, blame and hurt and replacing it with faith and courage.
"It has been said that reconciliation is the virtue of the courageous, the response of the forgiven, the mercy of the just. From reconciliation more reconciliation can flow." Barney Zwartz (from publicchristianity.org)
In 2 Corinthians, Paul writes about reconciliation being made available through Christ. This reconciliation is between people and God and is needed because each person has changed the relationship (so that it is no longer balanced) through sinning. It was the sacrifice of Jesus that allowed the balance to be restored and for people to be reconciled to God; it is clear to see humility, confession, forgiveness and faith.
2 Corinthians 5:17-21
"…if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."
Paul also says that as Christ’s ambassadors we are to appeal for people to find healing through Jesus as a Christian should be committed to the message of reconciliation.
Extending this to the context of the people in Australia, I believe the Bible communicates that Christians should be leading the movement for reconciliation between the indigenous peoples and the national identity and our leaders. The principles of grace, as seen in the necessary humility, confession, forgiveness and faith, are needed and possibly better understood after recognising the commitment and sacrifice of Jesus in making the restoration of relationship with God so easy.
Healing is needed in the world for all people and needed in Australia and we should be praying for the attitudes and actions that we can bring that allow reconciliation.