Labor Day Sunday, and I’d been to church again on the north side. The minister’s welcome to all was genuine and beaming. We all felt at home.
There was singing, and waving of arms. Some came forward to kneel at the stage – and, clearly, to cry out to God.
The sermon was a strong message on salvation – on receiving it, and claiming it, and living in the joy of it. Before long we realized the minister was telling his own story, about sin and its betrayal – in his own life. It was deeply personal. It was nothing the congregation didn’t already know. It even included prison and what he learned there. How he came to reality. To facing himself and being received by God. Being saved by God. And finding a new, loving way to live.
He offered it to us all – the joy of his salvation. He blessed Molly and me on our way. We drove home rejoicing.
Later, in the evening, a radio person told how he is trying, in our country of conflict, to break through to oneness with people he interviewed. One was Dolly Parton, who seemed to work at developing healed relationships with people. At one point she let out her secret. She said something like, “Without forgiveness, there’s nothing.” She makes that work. It is part of her faith.
I thought of our torn time. Of the differences we feel with other people. Good people. Our friends. Until that hurt, that difference of opinion – deeply felt – gets in the way.
How easily difference comes. Even in churches. And we want to get our way, quickly. And, we leave the table with all sides wounded.
While Dolly Parton walks the way of forgiveness. The way of saying sorry. Of acknowledging the change in your heart. It’s a way that takes time, and truth, and giving up self. It’s the divine way. And it works.
All over Minneapolis we need that way of dealing with each other. The forgiveness that changes everything. Jesus gave it from the cross – to heal the world. So, surely, it could heal cities, and neighborhoods, and churches, and homes.
These are days when God calls the church to step out, and take a chance, let our hearts be changed toward each other.
That’s important work for us. Before our hearts can be healed and our important relationships mended. Our work, these days, as summer ends. And we fight a pandemic to the end, and restore peace and unity among Jesus’ people – before winter comes.
“God bless us, every one!”
Arthur A Rouner, Jr -
|Arthur Rouner Ministries||
ARTHUR ROUNER MINISTRIES
All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation. . ."