‘All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself,[d] not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. 20 So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us … ‘
(2 Corinthians 5:18-20)
We still do not know how the land lies regarding the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union. As was stated back in January, ‘We continue to live in turbulent and uncertain times.. Wishing that things had been lived differently will not change where we are, but we can be involved in shaping the present and future. There is much to ponder about the world we want to be part of, locally, nationally and globally. Ultimately that world is shaped by relationship and not legislation’ (Bishop Rachel January 2019).
In 2 Corinthians 5 the Apostle Paul reminds the Church that we are called to be ‘ambassadors for Christ’ as we join in with God’s work of reconciliation. Therefore, we hope and pray that you will look at the resources which are being commended by our Archbishops, and decide how as an individual and as a worshipping community you might contribute to reconciliation and peace-making within your own communities, working with others to deepen relationship between people even in places of profound disagreement.
This might involve inviting people to gather together around food and drink, as well as encouraging people to pray. One simple idea we would like to commend is encouraging people to light three candles: one for yourself, one for your neighbour and one for our shared future.
It seems that sometimes in our world generosity and kindness can appear to be in short supply, so we hope that we can live a spaciousness of heart and vision, with and among people who are divided.
In this season of Lent as we walk towards the pain of the cross in a spirit of repentance, even now our eyes are focused on Christ’s resurrection and the hope and new life of Easter day. May we be those who hold together both pain and hope in our local communities as we respond to the call to be ambassadors for Christ.
The resources, which have been prepared by the Church of England’s Liturgical Commission and Mission and Public Affairs teams can be downloaded from churchofengland.org/together . They include a set of prayer resources and some suggested conversation starters, as well as locally printable publicity materials and graphics that can be shared on social media.