Picking Up Where Dr. King Left Off...

Jon Burgess


17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:The old has gone, the new is here!18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:19that 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 church in Corinth had lost their true north. They were getting caught up in controversies, divisions, and spiritual competitions. They had forgotten why Christ had made them new in the first place. The Apostle Paul had to renew their purpose for "newness". It wasn't to keep it to themselves but to build bridges to others who separate from God. What's the point of being made new if you don't allow others to come with you? It would be like having a broken down VW beetle on the side of the road turned into a brand new Mercedes Van with all the bells and whistles. Would you keep it in your garage and just look at it? No, it was made new to bring others with you! He has handed us the keys and given us One message and One ministry: reconciliation. This word was used of money changers in the market exchanging coins for something of equal value. Paul takes the word and lifts it by talking of the great exchange that happens when we repent of our sins and believe. We take something of no value and exchange it for something of eternal value and go from spiritual pauper to prince in the span of a prayer. Why wouldn't we want everyone we know to get in on this exchange rate? Instead of competing we should be collaborating. Instead of divided we should be united. This wasn't something we earned it was something offered by a generous God. He has committed this message to us. The question is whether or not we are committed to carrying it out?


Yesterday was the 50th Anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. at the young age of 39. How fitting and timely that today's reading would remind each of us that our ministry and our message is the same as his- reconciliation. I think MLK Jr. and the Apostle Paul are looking from that great cloud of witnesses in Heaven at the Church today and wondering where the voices of reconciliation are? How do we pick up where MLK Jr left off? Relationship. Real honest, open relationship with people around a table who are wholly different from us. Reconciliation cannot happen without relationship. People don't need more spiritual platitudes they need renewed attitudes. People don't need more sound bites from the news they need a reminder of the Good News- Jesus came to reconcile us to Himself and... here's where we come in... to each other. I live on an island called "The Gathering Place" representing one of the most racially diverse spots on the planet. Shouldn't the Church be the gathering place in The Gathering Place? Shouldn't we be the ones reaching out and welcoming in and building bridges with cultures that are different from our own? Dr. King famously stated that 11 a.m. on Sunday mornings was the most segregated hour in America. I believe the Church in Hawaii is uniquely positioned to provide a preview of Heaven when every nation, tribe, and language gather to worship Jesus. In Hawaii, there are no racial majorities. We are all minorities here. What a strategic place to provide a picture of grace to a world that's divided by race. Dr. King's life got cut short but his voice rings loud and strong even to this day: Love is creative and redemptive. "Love builds up and unites; hate tears down and destroys. The aftermath of the 'fight with fire' method... is bitterness and chaos, the aftermath of the love method is reconciliation and creation of the beloved community... Yes, love- which means understanding, creative, redemptive goodwill, even for one's enemies- is the solution."


Lord, renew our vision for new relationships. Remind us that each one of us has been given the same message and ministry as the Apostle Paul and Dr. King- Reconciliation. This won't happen automatically. This won't happen without intentionality. This won't be comfortable or convenient, but then again true Christianity never was. Show each of us where we can reach and build bridges for new relationships or bind up the ones that have been broken. You have committed this message of reconciliation to us and we must commit our lives to communicating it to the world around us.

Devotions for April 05

Ruth 1,2
Psalms 53, 61
2 Corinthians 5

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