Sometimes a message like this, from the right person, is enough to reduce you to a pile of tears. Because you miss the person who sent it to you, and because you’ve missed them for more than a year, and because you haven’t known how to reach out yourself, and the person just made the hard first-step. And because you’re so sure that God is in every word, emoticon, and exclamation mark that sets up coffee the next time she’s in town. And because that’s a coffee date you’ve been waiting to have, and you know it’s one you will keep.
And because somehow, it all feels like grace.
Last week, I sent an email to one of my friends from Bible study, one with whom I’m emailing on the regular to talk through the gratitude lists we’re making, and I told her that I’m grateful that God is in the business of reconciliation.
Somewhere in the last year, in the leaving, I lost sight of that.
Or maybe a better way to say it is that I lost sight of the ways that God was moving and working in the lives of the people who made up the other half of my relationships. I was guilty of disbelieving them, of casting them in the roles of Pharisee – people who were religiously trained, but weren’t living it well. I was guilty of assuming the worst, shutting my eyes to the possibility that God was making them new too. I was guilty of thinking them “wrong,” sure that they would never be first-step makers, sure that I would have to fall on my sword if I wanted things to be “okay” again.
And I think I’m generally guilty of taking on the whole responsibility of the making sure things are okay between me and the people in my life – forgetting that they are doing work too, forgetting that God is in fact leading both us.
And I’m so glad for the way that He leads. Because sometimes it means you receive a text, and an invitation to coffee, and things are righted just that quick.
I was reminded of God’s business of reconciliation again in church this morning when we read the latter part of 2 Corinthians 5. This is the part of Paul’s epistle that reminds us that we’re new creations, and we’re new creations because Christ reconciled us to God, and our charge now, in order to demonstrate this kind of grace that God showed us, is to reconcile with each other.
And this is what I love about God and church and community – it always comes back to grace.
God gives us grace, and we give each other grace, and it’s this big, beautiful cyclical thing that means you might cry when you get an out-of-the-blue text message.
When my friend sent the text message, she wasn’t just making plans for a coffee date; she was making the first hard step to restore our relationship. And she was showing me that she is in Christ, a new creation, who can forgive that there hasn’t been contact in over a year and reach out in kindness. She was showing me grace.
Because it always comes back to grace.
Grace upon grace, even.