O, Holy Night- Repentance, Reconciliation, and the Road Forward

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This was originally posted on my Facebook, I have added a bit and thought it appropriate to post again. 

Dear Drew HartEfrem SmithDr. Brenda Salter McNeil, and many other important voices,

I am the choir to which you preach. I agree, advocate, and post much of what you say. But yesterday Efrem said, “We can’t just look for people who look different than us but believe exactly what we do theologically and politically. That’s cheap reconciliation.” Cheap reconciliation. I have never been a part of reconciliation that did not have a cost. Reconciliation is a struggle – it causes tears and pain before hope, peace, and joy can be felt. Cheap reconciliation. There should be no space for this in the Church. Reconciliation is expensive and extravagant, it is what Advent is all about. We wait with baited breath for the Word to become flesh – this act of reconciliation cost the Father his Son, and the Son took on our sin. There is nothing more costly than the reconciliation I have been afforded.

I have sung “For the slave is our brother” at the top of my lungs, knowing the history, the hurt, repentance and the reconconciliation of that line in one of my favorite Advent hymns. Longing for the Baby in the manger to mend the scars and open gashes of racism. Please continue to direct this choir in that song, and force us to seek reconciliation that is costly, that is painful, that will cause us to grow, and find actual peace.

I am the choir to which you preach, and I want to sing louder.

Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother;
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name.

The road forward is long, and unpaved, but we have the time to march together, singing the song of Justice, belting out notes of Peace, and harmonizing the melody Reconciliation.

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