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Apr 02, 2018 | The Rt. Rev. Jeff W. Fisher

Bishop Fisher's Perspective on Reconciliation

I don’t really like reconciliation. Reconciliation requires me to make an effort. Yet Jesus asks me to put in the effort and work to be reconciled to people, people who sometimes drive me crazy.

I didn’t know that there was such a thing as a National Day of Reconciliation, April 2. I can now add that to my list of other days that I have learned about such as National Margarita Day and National Left-Handed Day (which as a southpaw, I completely support).

To me, it is interesting that this National Day of Reconciliation falls on Easter Monday, the day after we celebrate that God raised Jesus from the dead. For after the Resurrection, I imagine that a lot of reconciliation needed to take place.

The night before Jesus dies, the Apostle Peter throws Jesus under the bus, denying him three times. The relationship between Jesus and Peter was not in a good place. Judas did more than throw Jesus under the bus; the relationship is so torn that Judas takes is own life. And we do not get off the hook either: we, the crowd, ask Pilate to do our dirty work, screaming “Crucify him!” so that an innocent man dies. As Jesus hangs on the cross, our relationship with Jesus is certainly broken.

The day after the Resurrection of Jesus, there was a lot of reconciliation required.

In my own experience, the only way that I am reconciled is to have a one-on-one conversation. Not an email rant. Not a text. A real live conversation.

When we are in conflict with another person, these conversations are not fun. I usually enter the conversation thinking I am right. Yet it is through listening, deeply, to the other person, that transformation and healing begins. And I know that I am reconciled with the other person, when I come out of the conversation not thinking that I am right or wrong. But I come out realizing that the other person is my brother or my sister.

After his Resurrection, the risen Jesus and Peter have a conversation after breakfast on the beach. Even knowing that Peter had denied him, Jesus does not scream at Peter for his denial. Instead Jesus starts the conversation with a question: “Peter, do you love me most of all?” And Peter replies: “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Three times Peter and Jesus hold a question and answer conversation about love, reconciling with each other to heal the three times of denial.

I bet that the conversation with Peter and Jesus started out pretty awkward. Yet at the end of the conversation, there is healing and reconciliation, and there is clarity in mutual understanding. At the end of the conversation, there is transformation, as Peter changes from Peter the ratfink to Peter the shepherd.

Set up a time for a one-on-one conversation with another person in your life. Come into the conversation with an openness that you might not be 100% right. Listen deeply to the other, resisting the urge to respond. Invite the Holy Spirit to be in the middle of your conversation, leading you to transformation.

I don’t really like reconciliation. It is a lot of hard work. Yet on this National Day of Reconciliation, the risen Jesus asks me: “Jeff, do you love me most of all?” And I answer: “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.”

Jesus responds to me: “Then be reconciled.”