Mr. Alexander Pope was accurate. To err is human. We misbehave, stray and stumble. We don’t always live up to the ethic of love and grace and peace and justice that we so often exhort. We err, and our spouses, friends and colleagues often remind us of our own humanity.
To forgive is divine. All my hope and faith are placed in that small sentence. The Divinity that I long to discover, the divinity I choose to place my belief in, the divinity that I find purpose and wholeness in is one whose essence is known in forgiveness. I rather like the idea of abounding, universal forgiveness. As I read the Gospels it’s that radical kind of forgiveness is on display with Jesus the Christ.
Therefore, I suspect there is much truth in the platitude: To err is human; to forgive, divine.
Yet, I recognize that in the words of Jesus and his followers and canonized as Holy Scripture forgiveness is only the first step in the utopia imagined as the Kingdom of Heaven. Truly, reconciliation is the final destination. We err. We receive forgiveness. Through Christ we are reconciled to the God of the Universe.
Whereas forgiveness is courageous action of a single individual wronged by another, Reconciliation is the work of two free individuals, willing to labor toward life together. This is what led C.S. Lewis to posit, “Hell is locked from the inside.” Truly, the one who sins against their neighbor and refuses to confess error, receive forgiveness, and seek reconciliation is living in hell here and now.
The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) officially in 1967 started the Reconciliation Ministry in attempt to do a Kingdom of Heaven work – namely, to confess the original sin of our nation – racism, to receive forgiveness for individual, institutional, and societal wrongs, and to seek reconciliation with all people beautifully diverse.
The 2015 Reconciliation Offering will be received here at FCCDM on September 27th and October 4th. This special offering is used to fund our general church mission imperative to become a pro-reconciling and anti-racist church utilizing the tools of experiential education (training and cultural activities), inclusive worship and intentional dialogue. Our efforts to promote healing, relationship and restoration in the whole family of God are enlivened by funds from this offering providing for programs of leadership development, curriculum for dialogue in faith and learning, and partnerships within the Church and our communities. The year 2015 has catapulted the conversation about human brokenness evidenced in the sin of racism and perpetuated in our institutional structures and systems.
Your generous giving to the Reconciliation Ministry is transforming lives and strengthening Christ’s witness in the world that we love one another, even as Christ continues to love us!
To err is human; to forgive, divine; to reconcile, heavenly.