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A Christian Vision of Reconciliation

The components of Christ-based reconciliation go beyond strategies of peacemaking or conflict resolution.

own backyard, gazing at a cross of the crucified Jesus, worshipping and listening to God. This is the Tutu we don’t know. We have just as much to learn from this hidden Tutu about what reconciliation means. There is no public Tutu without the hidden Tutu. He teaches us “there is need of only one thing” in this journey of reconciliation, seen in the story of Martha and Mary (Luke 10:38-42): sitting at the feet of the Lord.

God’s gift of reconciliation is an invitation into restless advocacy for peace, justice, human rights, and an end to war and discrimination. But as Jean Vanier and Martin Luther King Jr. teach us, these are not the ultimate end. To sustain this struggle for a more just and peaceful world requires not only extravagant mercy and justice but also extravagant devotion.

This is why reconciliation requires worshipping communities. There is no work of conversion, no beloved community, no “new we,” without the central, prior action of the resurrected Jesus whose wounds did not disappear. The full equation of peace is not “us” and “them” becoming a new “we.” Rather, it is “us,” “them,” and God. Reconciliation is as big as engaging the great social divisions from America to Africa to Asia, as well as our rupture with all of God’s creation. Yet reconciliation is never bigger than the person nearest to you who is most difficult to love. The greatest force in learning to embrace and embody this new creation is not our love for God or for the world, but God’s love for us. This is why a Christian vision of reconciliation matters for each one of us.