Christ Church, Mountain Top, Holy Communion
2 Corinthians 5.14-21
be with you” Jesus says in this resurrection appearance to his disciples (Luke
24.36). Now, he could simply be addressing their fear – how many here would
feel comfortable speaking with a recently dead person? Theologically, however,
he is also addressing their sin, the sin that lies between them, the sin that
has created a breach, a gulf, a distance, in their relationship. These men
turned their backs on Jesus, denied knowing him, disappeared into the night at
the point of Jesus’ greatest personal need.
ignore this dimension of the story because we are so fixed on an image of Jesus
as a nice person, a good person. He is both nice and good. He has also proven
himself adept at the exercise of power, effective at channeling his anger with
great force. Now, he’s back from the dead and – if this was a horror flick –
he’d have a score to settle with his old crew. Instead: “Peace be with you.”
it’s not a horror flick, and I am not suggesting that the disciples were
horrified to see Jesus. They knew he loved them, no matter what they had done.
At the same time, they were so glad to know that they did not have to deal with
that huge elephant: We let you down, we abandoned you, we failed. We can’t look
ourselves in the mirror. How shall we ever look you in the eye? “Peace be with
you.” “Repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed” (Luke 24.47).
So, they were able to move all the more quickly to joy.
to Solomon – settle the scores
Kings 2:5, Joab of Abner and Amasa: “he murdered, retaliating in time of peace
for blood that had been shed in war”
expanded cycle of revenge
keeps no record of wrongs” (1 Corinthians 13.6, NIV)
one is innocent – if our innocence is taken from us, we are no longer innocent,
even if a victim (Volf).
keep our innocence, we must not only abhor violence. We must also abandon our
identity as victim.
victim and perpetrator there is no reconciliation, there can only be justice or
injustice, and even the justice is flawed. Who can return a person’s innocence?
are willing to give up our identity as victim, or as perpetrator (whether the
one who initiates the cycle or the one who settles the score).
has given US the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5.18)
and the king of Gerar – pray for him (Genesis 20.7)
and his friends – pray for them (Job 42.8)
to the kingdom (binding, loosing, Matthew 16.19; 18.15-35)
keeps no record of wrongs”. The path to innocence is through love.
your enemies” (Matthew 5.44). “Be reconciled to God”. Peace is not made between
friends, but between enemies.
(greeting in worship)
the love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for
all” (2 Corinthians 5.14).
matter the struggle:
has given us the ministry of reconciliation.” “Be reconciled to God.” “Love.”
a two way street
with a focus on family
ourselves, particularly our past
Volf. Exclusion and Embrace.