This week is recognised across Australia as Reconciliation Week: a week dedicated to acknowledging the oldest Australians – the Aboriginal people, and the relationship which those of us who are more recent Australians have with them; and we acknowledge the things that have not been good, and wrong, in that relationship, and the things that can and need to be better.
Today is also the Christian Feast of Pentecost: the event recorded in Acts 2, when God poured out His Holy Spirit upon all flesh. The Australian Aboriginal people are mentioned there, as well as all the more recent Australians – i.e. those from “every nation under heaven” (Acts 2:5).
By the miracle of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit created reconciliation. The Biblical account says that all the nations gathered that day heard the believers speaking of the one message, that they could all understand: the mighty act of God’s grace, through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, to pay for and forgive all sins. Through faith, this act of God reconciles all people with God our Father, and reconciles us with all people. This makes it possible to forgive wrongs, put wrong things to rights, and create new friendships.
That sounds easy, but is much harder to do! Living out reconciliation includes many failures and successes, and stops and starts. Actually, it will take the whole of history to live out reconciliation, and we won’t know the fulfilment of it until we are God’s one family in the new heaven and earth.
But, in the present, just as we have to commit ourselves to the Christian Gospel with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength, so we have to commit ourselves to reconciliation with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength. This is essential to being filled with the Holy Spirit.
Grace and peace in Christ, Jonathan