More than 20 years ago, my husband and his older brother had an argument — and didn’t speak for 20 years.
Family members would try to get them to reconcile, but neither brother would make the first move.
Then about a year ago they started messaging through family members: “Tell my brother I said hi.”
My husband found a family relic in a box in the attic and sent it to his brother with a note: “Thought you would like this.”
They “friended” each other on Facebook, sent tentative messages: “How are you?” “Have a good weekend.”
Then my brother-in-law was in Florida and he and my husband met for lunch. They talked about old times, then after lunch as they were walking to their cars my brother-in-law said, “Hey, about me telling you to drop dead.”
My husband said, “Yeah,” and that was it. Twenty years of bitterness was gone.
Now they’re friends again, brothers again.
I love a good reconciliation story.
Recently at church, the pastor showed a clip from “The Color Purple.” A woman named Shug Avery, a blues singer, was estranged from her father, a church pastor.
Shug had grown up in church but had fallen away.
In the clip, she's singing at the same time the choir at her father’s church is singing.
Off in the distance, Shug hears the choir singing a song from her youth, “Maybe God Is Tryin’ To Tell You Something.”
“I was so blind (Speak to me), I was so lost (Speak, Lord), Until You spoke to me (Speak to me)...Heal my soul (Speak, Lord)...Save my soul (Speak to me).”
Shug tries to ignore it at first, then stops singing her blues song and starts singing, “Speak, Lord, speak to me….”
Then she starts walking, walking and singing toward the church, with a line of people following her.
Like the gospel story of the prodigal son finally coming home, Shug, unsure at first, falls into her father’s welcoming, forgiving embrace.
That’s the whole story of the Bible. We’re estranged from our Father and that broken relationship affects all our other relationships.
At my church, we’ve been going through the book of Genesis where, in the first few pages Adam and Eve sin and are separated from God. Their son, Cain, kills his brother, Abel. After that there’s a whole line of brothers, sisters too, who fight with each other.
And it all stems from man at enmity with God.
“No one is good — no one in the world is innocent. No one has really followed God’s paths or even truly wanted to. Every one has turned away; all have gone wrong. No one anywhere has kept on doing what’s right — not one” (Romans 3:10-12).
So, because someone has to make the first move toward reconciliation, God did.
That’s the whole reason Jesus came, the whole reason for the manger and the cross, for his death and resurrection, the reason he’s coming back, so we can be together as a family, brothers and sisters, reconciled with each other and with God as our Father.
Last week at church, we sang “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.”
I love the part that goes, “God and sinners reconciled.”
As I sang, I thought about how God is always seeking reconciliation and that maybe God is tryin’ to tell us something.
He's always tryin' to tell us something: that he’s made the first move and stands ready to welcome his wayward children home.
Nancy Kennedy can be reached at 352-564-2927 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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