It’s a brand-new calendar year, with the possibility of many holy new beginnings! New beginnings anchored in God. New beginnings covered in grace. New beginnings that God is right now orchestrating. New beginnings with the authority of heaven behind them. New beginnings, of all sorts.
Divine appointments. Divine plans. Divine details. Many, if not all, anchored in Biblical reconciliation.
I’m not sure if you have considered that before, that there is a consistent Biblical theme of reconciliation throughout Scripture. Which makes it a fair leap for us to expect there to be a consistent theme within our own lives, individually and corporately, for Biblical reconciliation with God and with each other. How good is that!
There are many scriptures I could list, but for now let’s check out this verse in 2 Corinthians 5:18 (NKJV). Let’s keep in mind the backdrop of this scripture, that it was written by the apostle Paul to the New Testament church (Corinth). Corinth was an ethnically diverse church. Corinth was struggling with division. Paul was trying to encourage them towards unity. The verse says:
“All followers of Jesus are called to a ministry of reconciliation. We help non-believers be reconciled to God and believers be reconciled to one another. By making sure our lives are an ongoing example of going to others we have offended, we ask forgiveness and seek to be reconciled.”
Let’s consider this scripture (and others) through the lens of racial and ethnic reconciliation. You and I, who love Jesus, are called to the ministry of ethnic and racial reconciliation. How incredible is that, that God trusts us enough. That God thinks we have the capacity. That God deems us worthy of this hard, yet beautiful work, of reconciliation.
Consider this. Racial and ethnic division is contagious. So is racial and ethnic reconciliation. Let’s in 2023 (and beyond) be ministers of ethnic and racial reconciliation. Let’s be that city on the hill that cannot be hidden. Let’s be the light. Let’s be the salt. Let’s be known for racial and ethnic reconciliation. And when the opportunity arises, let’s not choose division but instead choose reconciliation. Biblical reconciliation.
Let’s look at the same scripture again, but in the “The Message” translation:
“All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them.”
I’m not sure where you are on your own journey of awareness when it comes to racial and ethnic justice, unity, and reconciliation. How exciting would it be if we all, would commit to increasing our awareness in 2023. How exciting would it be if we all, would commit to push into, learn more about, and contend for Biblical ethnic and racial reconciliation within our churches and communities.
Maria Hansen-Quine, LASW, MSW, CSC
Hillsong Global Race Diversity and Inclusion Manager