All Things Reconciled
Consider this statement: I am reconciled to everything underneath my sight-level. Everything else is a threat.
For example, if my eyes are set on a cause or denomination or tangible goal, I am likely united with a behavior or a group that affirms the world as I see it; and I am potentially in discord with anything beyond the umbrella of my belief.
If my sight is set on Christ, then I am reconciled to Him and to all things, because all things are under Him. All threats, overcome.
The ministry of reconciliation is sometimes carried out as a ministry of demanding sameness.
If reconciliation of any kind hasn’t been modeled well, or has been continually resisted soon after the beginning stages, then the mere idea of being reconciled takes on a distorted meaning that wreaks havoc on the newlywed, the church, and the potentially “found”.
God has staked out a vast Kingdom—one that has plenty of room for His intended, and all of the intricate, unique facets His intended consists of. We may have an idea of what a reconciled life ought to look like, and how we ought to be encouraging others toward it. And perhaps we’ve cast too small a vision.
Christian reconciliation means to be restored to unity with Christ. And by that eventuality, I am restored to all things, because Christ is in all things. If I am one of Christ’s own, I am therefore of His same mind to restore all things to peaceful unity in Christ. The Gospel narrates reconciliation to be the purpose and the life of Christ.
Since my ministry to others is really, simply reflection of who I understand Christ to be to me, it is good for me to remember that I was reconciled because of God’s love, not because of an expectation of specific behavior. And before I indulge my temporal inclination to delineate within the ministry of reconciliation to Christ, it is good for me to remember that I am reconciled to a Kingdom of infinite-ness, mystery and mercy, which is held together by a perfect marriage of paradox.
The places within me which have too small a grasp of the bigness of God are the places where differences tend to polarize. In these shallow or disconnected places, the mere idea itself—uniting with differences—is frightening, and can evoke a cagey, closed-off existence. Just the thought of reconciliation can make me want to point out every reason why I think I shouldn’t have to.
As within a healthy marriage, reconciled differences serve to edify and increase the union, but there is a fear lurking just before the point of further unity which says “you will limit or lose yourself in the act of reconciling”. And this is consistent with the plight of humanity’s battle of the flesh and the spirit. Reconciliation will always initially read as defeat or condescension, but its expression leads to ultimate victory.
This is quite a thought for me to think, and quite another excruciating charge for me to align with. I expect my first opportunity to “die” will come the instant I put this computer down.
As the mind matures, and as the idea of reconciliation to God’s gracious bigness becomes less dreadful, and instead, more of an attractive answer to all problems, there is space to wonder what a Kingdom of perfect union with all things might look like:
I imagine that the abstract and the foundational will have figured out how to work seamlessly together.
Maybe in that place, reckless generosity and responsible stewardship are nearly the same thing.
Perhaps beauty and modesty will be intertwined.
Tradition and creativity will embrace, as will practicality with idealism.
Settlers and pioneers will be eternally grateful for one another.
Science and religion will finally bend toward one another until they are fused beautifully.
The warrior and peacemaker will be each other’s strongest ally.
Heaven and Earth will inspire one another.
Humility and triumph will bow to one another.
Need and generosity will complete one another.
Whatever my vision of reconciliation is (a vision that, no doubt, I subsequently project onto others), pray it would be propped up by the frame of eternity to include all things, as Christ is in all things. And pray that I would first be fully reconciled to Christ, that all things would follow.
But He is not fully in me yet. I do not yet possess a grace big enough to absorb or reconcile all things. Or, as other people say it better, He (and grace) is fully present, but I am not fully awake to it. So the parts of me that are still sleeping—in denial—are the parts that are resistant to unity in Christ, and are also resistant to differences in general. Is there a greater difference than the human and the divine? And yet if these can be reconciled, perhaps everything can.
As an aside, what of these “sleeping cells” of mine? Will they be cast off? Awakened? I suppose whoever knows the answer to that might know the mysteries of God’s select verses universality, and free-will verses predestination. Will all things really be reconciled or will they be “left behind” or perhaps instead be transformed and given new life?
I yi yi, it is too wonderful for me to know.
But insofar as I contemplate lateral differences reuniting with the Firstborn of all things, there are horizontal differences to be addressed, too. The reconciliation of sin to salvation is really the thing to talk about. Reconciliation to all things is a byproduct and a calling, but (in my life, anyway) has only begun to be possible as I am first restored to an eternal life in Christ.
If one lives openly enough, one will become aware of one’s own sin, and will also befriend those who are victims of sin. I happen to have dear friends who have suffered sexual abuse, physical abuse, substance abuse, child abuse and psychological abuse. I cannot write a piece on reconciliation without their stories bubbling to the forefront of my mind.
We Christians tend to urge people to reconciliation without really knowing what we’re talking about. And I, with no credentials whatsoever, except that I have begun to know who God really is, can only say that as God sought union with me, he didn’t coddle or enthrone my sin. Nor was He unaware of it. But He pursued the eternal me, and the hope of the eternal me, and when I chose to come into alignment with this hope, I became transformed into the eternal me who God sought.
In this fashion, how can I unite with all things (if in fact that is the manifestation of eternal life), when qualities like abuse and hate and self-centeredness have as much a chance in heaven as darkness around the sun, and are certainly not a part of eternity.
In God’s kingdom where “the wolf may live with the lamb and the child will put his hand into the viper’s nest and neither will harm nor destroy…” (Isaiah 11), somehow the destructive part of the relationship between predator and prey has been absolved. In a Kingdom where all things are reconciled, carnal thirst is invited to sip from living water and begin a life of being forever changed.
When things are reconciled in Christ, they lose their death-properties. And also their fear of being put to death. Wound will meet healing, and becomes joy. Despair unites with compassion, oppressed atrocities dissolve in forgiveness, and fear is reconciled into ultimate power. And these old marks will be a banner of completion and a cause for celebration.
My failures will be reconciled into God’s triumphant kingdom. Hunger, resolved by God’s abundance. Sadness and doubt are pursued by kindness and restoration until they actually become those things themselves.
Full reconciliation to Christ would actually edify our unique and eternal fingerprints instead of erase them. Emersion into the Kingdom of God edifies that in us which will live forever—things that enable unity—and nullifies or leaves behind that which is not. In this Kingdom it makes perfect sense to pray for the also-reconciliation of those who persecute us. In this Kingdom, modes of ministry magnify the bigness of God instead of our one-dimensionality. In this Kingdom, the laws of mutual attraction work to make us more like Love, and not to demand instead that Love becomes like us.
Oh, if this is even the beginning of what reconciliation to Christ is like, let it happen now and to all of creation! And let the fullness of it come already! I’m tired of being irritated with the ism’s that emit from incompleteness, and I’m done with the anxieties that stem from the threats to my dormant flesh.
Colossians 1: 15-20. The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
Philippians 3:21 … by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, (He) will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.