by Christopher Harbin

Transformed for Reconciliation
Christopher B. Harbin
2nd Corinthians 5:1-18

It is a new year. Our calendar has reset to January, and people think of new beginnings, of new challenges, of new strategies, and new resolutions for a changed life or circumstances. We want a fresh start. We want the opportunity to start over, to have a second chance, to renew our lives with a sense of being unblemished. We want transformation, but at the same time we understand that transformation requires change. At heart, we are not really sure about a lot of change, especially when it might mean that we have to make the changes. We like the idea of renewal, but much less the concept of taking responsibility for that renewal.

The church is not very different from us as individuals. We want the church to be somehow different, better than what we have come to expect, but we want somehow for the brunt of that change to fall upon others and not ourselves. We want the church to grow, but only in so far as it does not depend on or impact ourselves. We want the church to reflect the attitudes of Christ Jesus, but we don't want to have to be the ones to embody the attitudes of Christ Jesus. We want the church to be somehow different from ourselves as individuals. We want it to be a place where we go, not a reflection of who we are. If only it were perfect, then we could be truly happy with the church. The problem is that we are the church, and we are not perfect.

The church ought to be unified, harmonious, peaceful, vibrant, growing, dedicated, generous, kind, loving, and full of grace and mercy. Yet we somehow want the church to be that way without our own lives being that way. We want peace and unity, but we want others to bear the burden of harmony and grace. We want to be spectators watching and enjoying the results of the hard work of another.

I am reminded of so many TV shows and movies in which a character threatens to injure, maim, or kill hostage, laying the blame for ...

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