the ministry of reconciliation

public speaking terrifies me.  it doesn't matter how prepared i am or how passionate about the topic:  i will stumble awkwardly over my words, and i will turn red.

it starts at my chest:  blotchy patches climb and spread up my neck like poison ivy and my fair cheeks flush with embarrassment.  i sweat.  it's awful.

despite all that, i agreed to be the speaker at worship at camp last sunday.  they asked, and it was one of those things i felt i "should" do.  not out of obligation--it's a big staff and someone else could have done it.  i said yes because it's important to hear women's voices, especially in the Church, and saying no felt like a step backward.

i spoke about a passage in 2 corinthians about reconciliation and being a new creation in Christ.  it's a favorite passage, but i can't explain why it stood out to me as a topic for camp.

summer camp requires jim to work most hours he's awake.  to say he's not home much doesn't really get at the scope of his commitment there.  we try to go to camp to see him for meals, but dozens of staff vie for his attention (not to mention our two little ones), and we don't connect.

last night, after the kids went to bed, we had one of those discussions that twists your stomach in knots.  the kind where time ticks by and no progress is made. 

but this time, we didn't give up.  we didn't yell or walk away frustrated.  we chose not to surrender to disconnect or lack of understanding.

we did the work of reconciliation.

we listened and heard and understood.  we apologized.  we experienced the grace of being known and loved still.  we glimpsed in one another what it is to re-created:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.

the new has come.  day by day, moment by moment, God's grace reveals itself.

and we are transformed.

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