A remarkable reconciliation occurred recently that’s got me reflecting on the beauty and importance of coming together and resolving differences and difficulties. On Memorial Day weekend in an historic cemetery in Rincon GA, a racially integrated congregation was formed when worshipers joined together to reconsecrate more than 250 graves of slaves which border the main cemetery of JerusalemLutheran Church. Jerusalem is the oldest, continuously worshiping Lu the ran church in the country, founded in 1734 by “ the Salzburgers” who were fleeing religious persecution in Europe. The Salzburgers were outspoken opponents of slavery, but it is only recently that the graves were made known in the present day, revealed by ground-penetrating radar.
According to an article by Deborah Fontenau in the Savannah Herald, upon thediscovery of the burial grounds, “Lutherans laid down a blueprint for reconciliation theology.” And so, people gathered to pray and sing, lay a wreath to honor those long gone, and worship a God who is always calling us to be reconciled, one with another. Fontenau describes the experience as “centuries of solitude, silence, and shame” being put to rest. Remarkable.
What if we humans valued reconciliation as theright and proper way of relating to each other? In Syria and Iraqand Afghanistanand so on throughout history… In American politics… In personal relationships…
I treasure a moment of reconciliation between me and another that occurred a long time ago. An unkind remark of mine was met with silence. The silence created a space devoid of retaliation, competition, or judgmentalism, a space in which I could catch my frustrated breath. And then the two of us trudged through therest of that hard conversation until the issue was resolved and harmony restored.
Sometimes reconciliation comes through gracious silence, sometimes through raucous demands for justice. Sometimes in a fleeting glance or sudden laugh, sometimes in grueling negotiation. Sometimes in a quick minute, sometimes after centuries.
Any thoughts on reconciliation? If you’ve experienced or seen a moment of reconciliation worth sharing, please do!