FROM THE PASTOR’S DESK: Reconciliation in Lent

2 Corinthians 5:17-20    17So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! 18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; 19that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. 20So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

Pastor Charlie Leonard

Dear Friends in Christ,

If Lent 2019 at Good Shepherd with its’ theme “Seeing Whiteness” has felt challenging or unsettling for you, please know it has been for me too. But Lent is a time for deeper reflection of our lives and faith that we may discover a real sense of repentance as we move toward Easter.  This past Wednesday I preached from John 9 where Jesus teaches about seeing and not seeing (ourselves, our beliefs and actions).  My message pointed to the subtle ways we are blinded by the normalcy of differentiating people by skin color and benefiting from unspoken powers in place that favor those of us considered to be part of a white race.  These are difficult realities to expose, hear and see, especially if you are white. You may be asking, why are we focusing on racism? Well, for whatever reason the reality of maintaining racial differences still exists and it hurts people, even now in a time when most of us would say individually that “I am not racist.”   I believe it’s a social issue that is not easily seen, like the blindness Jesus speaks of in John 9.  Unseen racism (unrecognized privilege + power = racism) is a subtle but significant part of social tension. Even though we may not be individual racists, we may be part of a greater system of racism.  Our deeper personal reflection leads us to repent of our (individual) sins, but can we see the Sin (big S) of the world that surrounds us?  Can we see the Sin of racism and repent?

Paul, in his second letter to the Corinthians writes about us by saying; therefore, if we are “in Christ” we are part of a “new creation. . . see, everything has become new!”   And in this new creation we are “entrusted with the message reconciliation.”  How do these words fit into our Sinful society?  I think Paul would answer in this way: You are in Christ – ambassadors for Christ! Continue making creation new through reconciliation with God, yourself, and one another!

As Holy Week and Easter approach, remember God’s promises of forgiveness for Sin and reconciliation with God for All the world. Then, go forward with hope in His resurrection for a new creation where everything old has passed away, and everything has become new!

See you in worship,