This is my sermon manuscript from July 16, based on the text of 2Corinthians 5.11-21.
Recordings of each sermon for this Sunday may be downloaded above.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
When you think of reconciliation, you probably think about your checking account, and the joys of trying to get it to balance. The frustrating problems that come with trying to reconcile is that there has been a difference in understanding.
It could be the amount that you recorded is different than what the bank recorded because a number was misinterpreted.
It could be that an additional event occurred that not everybody was made aware of, and now that it has come to light, there are hurt feelings.
It could be that there was an outside event that has thrown things out of balance.
It could be something from long ago, forgotten or not shared, has recently resurfaced and created confusion.
It could be that an amount was entered wrong because someone made a mistake.
It could be a simple error, like seeing 2 + 2, and writing 5.
Those are the types of things that cause us to have a hard time reconciling our bank accounts. But those are also the types of things that cause us to have a hard time reconciling with one another.
There was a misinterpretation. There was something that happened to one person that affected their relationship with another who wasn’t involved. Something came from outside, and changed relationships. An event from the past puts things in a new light. It could be simple miscommunication. Someone may have made a mistake.
These are the things in our lives that throw relationships out of balance. They cause heartache and bad feelings. And to restore things, we need to reconcile.
This happens between people. This happens between us and God.
I have some good news and some bad news. The bad news is that reconciling between one another is just like reconciling your bank accounts. Sometimes it is really easy. Sometimes it is maddeningly frustrating. The good news is that our reconciliation to God has already been done.
Paul writes that God has reconciled us to God’s own self through Christ, and then has given us the ministry of reconciliation. Through Christ, God reconciled the world to God.
All of the mistakes, error, misunderstandings that we have done against God – all of those terms are nice ways of saying SINS – have been brought into balance by God. God has done that in a way that we should not in reconciling our bank accounts. God takes an eraser to them. They are wiped out. They exist no more.
By Christ’s death on the cross, a sign of how much we are loved by God, that not even killing the Son of God can separate us from God’s love, our sins, errors & mistakes, are wiped clean. For all the sin, wrongs & denials we have done to & against God, we are forgiven.
And we are given the ministry of reconciliation to take into the world.
We are called to forgive because we have been forgiven. We are called to reconcile because we have been reconciled.
That is the challenge. While we are more than happy to have our sins forgiven, we tend to hold onto the sins done against us. We want to get rid of the things we have done wrong, to bury them & erase them from existence. But we want to hold onto those trespasses done against us.
But that is not what reconciliation means. We are trying to bring relationships back into balance. It cannot be balanced if one side isn’t willing to admit that some of the mistakes may have come on one side.
Take a moment to think of a relationship that you have where you need to be reconciled; one where the relationship is out of balance. Do you need to be forgiven so you can be reconciled? Do you need to forgive in order to be reconciled?
How can you ask for forgiveness? Do you have to muster up the courage to ask, knowing that you might be rejected? What do you have to lose? If you are already separated because of what had been done, what further distance can be created by asking for forgiveness?
How can you forgive? What do you have to find in yourself to let go of what has hurt you? Think of what you have to gain. By reconciling, you can let go of pain you have been carrying around, and you can gain a restored friendship.
In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus tells a parable about a man who owes the king a huge, unpayable debt. The king forgives the debt. The man goes out and accosts another man who owes him a few hundred dollars. He is brought before the king who chastises him for not showing a bit of mercy when he had just been showered with mercy.
Because we have been reconciled with God by the life, death & resurrection of Christ, God wants us to reconcile with others, to share the love given to us by God with them.
We are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. AMEN.
Pastor Brian's Page
Pastor Brian Robert Campbell has served at Our Savior's and Emmanuel since August 1, 2011, and began serving Nazareth on December 1, 2015.
Pastor Brian is originally from Saginaw, Michigan. He graduated from Alma College with a B.A. in Business Administration, and worked for the Saginaw Public Schools' Community Education Department for 17 years before answering the call to ministry. He graduated with a M. Div. from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg in 2011. ONE in Christ Lutheran Parish is his first call.
He is the only child of Robert and Charlotte Campbell, both who have entered the Church Eternal.
He is accompanied in ministry by his faithful bulldogge Ananias, who regularly writes for our newsletter. His articles are archived here.
He is a fan of sports teams from his native Michigan, especially the Tigers and the Lions. But we tolerate him despite that.
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