Devotion: Monday, April 1, 2019

Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections from His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s reading is from 2 Corinthians 5:17-19, where the Scripture says,   

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

The Gospel in a Nutshell!

People often ask me to share with them a verse or brief section that summarizes the Christian message. Many will offer John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son…” That’s surely a good one, maybe the best for many. But my favorite little section is from 2 Corinthians 5:17-19. In these verses Paul describes what the sending of His only begotten Son was all about. It was about reconciling a world that was in rebellion, back to the One who created it in and for perfection. It is about bringing together that which was separated because of human sin. It was about not counting our sins against us, when they should not only be counted, but should determine our destiny. It is about replacing the despair and the brokenness of our sin with the hope and the righteousness of Jesus himself. God was IN CHRIST reconciling the world to Himself, yes, and, for those who put their trust and faith in that reconciliation, we now are ambassadors of His hope. With Christ as our Savior, our Redeemer, our Reconciler, we can reach out a hand that is full of His grace so that others might know Him and trust in Him too. That’s the Gospel message and the Gospel empowered life in a nutshell.

Reconciled, we can be reconcilers. With lives in the grip of His grace, we can reach out with a reconciling hand to a world caught in its own self-centered desperation.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “CHANCING ONE’S ARM?” It’s a phrase about putting the power of Christ’s reconciliation to work in our lives. The phrase is associated with the oldest Christian site in Ireland, St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin.  One of its doors is called the “Door of Reconciliation.” There’s a rectangular hole hacked out of its center. In 1492, two prominent Irish families, the Ormonds and Kildares, were in the midst of a bitter feud. As the feud grew and turned into an all out fight, the Earl of Ormand and his family and followers took refuge in the chapter house of St. Patrick’s Cathedral and bolted themselves in. However, as the siege wore on, the Earl of Kildare concluded the feuding was foolish. Here were two families worshiping the same God in the same church, living in the same country, and yet trying to kill each other. So Kildare called out to the Earl of Ormand and pledged that he would not seek revenge or indulge in villainy. Instead, he wanted the Ormands to come out and the feud to be over. But the Earl of Ormand was convinced that it was a scheme full of treachery and refused to come out of the Cathedral. So Kildare grabbed his spear, chopped a hole in the door with it, and thrust his hand through.

There was a tense moment until his hand was grasped by another hand inside the church. The door was opened and the two men embraced, thus ending the family feud. Reconciled to God, they could “chance their arm” to each other.

But here’s the point. Jesus didn’t just “chance his arm.” He gave His body, His life, for our eternal salvation. Because of that fact of reconciliation, we who trust in Christ can take a chance on each other each and every day.

PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, challenge us today to put the power of our reconciliation to God IN YOU to work in the relationships we have in our lives. AMEN.