2 Corinthians 5:19 – God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself.
This is a story of two men.
The first is my father. His name is Grant. Grant was born and raised on a small Ontario farm. In 1939, while he peered into a mirror and carefully scraped shaving soap and a few sparse whiskers from his young face, the farm radio crackled with the news that Canada was at war. Grant soon bid farewell to his parents and boarded a Toronto-bound train where he volunteered to serve in the Canadian Army.
The second man is named Karl. Karl was born and raised in Germany. When his country went to war, Karl joined the German navy.
The war ended and Grant returned to civilian life, as did Karl. Years passed, and the 1970's found Grant serving as minister of Mackay Presbyterian Church in the northern Ontario mining town of Timmins. Strangely enough, Karl's journey also led him to Timmins where he found work as a night-watchman on a construction site. It was there that Karl met a Christian architect who befriended him, helped him dedicate his life to Christ and invited him to worship at… Mackay Presbyterian Church. Carl found a warm reception amongst that faith community.
Not long afterwards, as part of a Remembrance Day Service talk with the children of that congregation, Grant invited Karl to join him at the front of the sanctuary to help share a message of peace with the little ones.
There they were, two men, former enemies, a soldier and a sailor from opposite sides of the ocean, from opposite sides of the war. Some 25 years later, they stood side by side, united by nothing less than the peace and reconciliation of Christ.
Who is your enemy? Who is it that upsets you? Who triggers rage in your heart? Who is it that you find impossible to forgive? Let the names come to you.
And then search for the light of Christ in that darkness. Listen for the voice whispering, "Blessed are the peacemakers," and pray that the reconciling love of our Lord finds a way into human and hurting hearts everywhere.
Prayer: God of all people, you know who I consider to be my enemies: those who undermine my work; those who tie my stomach in knots; neighbours; relatives; strangers. God of reconciliation, plant seeds of love in my heart and lead me by your spirit, so that together, we may build bridges of peace and unity, in the spirit of Christ. Amen.