All things are from God who has reconciled us to Himself through the Messiah, and given us the ministry of reconciliation...
2nd Corinthians 15:18
I was reading in Asher Intrater's wonderful new book titled Alignment and he quoted this verse, followed by this statement: "Every person is called to be a bridge between two people or groups of people. How do we bring people into unity? We stand as representatives of Yeshua and demonstrate His love."
I cannot count on two hands how many times people have said to me, "Kelly, you are a bridge." At first I understood this on the level of the ministry I've participated in, helping the Church to understand the Hebrew roots of our Christian faith, and reaching out to the Jewish people with the news of Yeshua's love and salvation. These are, of course, the two "people groups" that make up God's family and I have had such a passion to participate in the work of the restoration of these two -- the restoration of all Israel, as Paul teaches in Romans 11. But this morning Asher's statement awakened something in me that comes a little closer to home. "Every person is called to be a bridge," he says. That means every single one of us who believe in Yeshua! We are all called to this "ministry of reconciliation" - and that does not necessarily mean we need to form some kind of global organization to foster unity between the cultures! He says we are called to "stand as representatives of Yeshua and demonstrate His love." That can be a simple, gentle work of helping two people reconstruct their marriage, or helping someone heal from childhood wounds so they can forgive a parent.
Colossians 1:17 tells us that "He (Yeshua) is before all things and in Him all things hold together." The Greek word for "hold together" has this definition: to stand with, to hold together, to be formed. I think about the current state of America, in more division and animosity than we have ever seen since the Civil War - and I wonder how any of us could possibly bring reconciliation to this nation. Perhaps Asher's statement gives a small clue we need to take to heart. He wrote, "How do we bring people into unity? We stand as representatives of Yeshua and demonstrate His love." To even speak the name of Jesus right now causes instant hatred and division! And I am certainly not advocating that we compromise our faith in any way. But what if we just found ways to demonstrate His love? Didn't He seek out the lost, the broken, the angry, the outcast, and just demonstrate love?
I remember once being in a situation where I was asked to help care for a very sick person who had once been extremely hateful to me. As hard as it was, I remember that when I would go to her, I would tell the Father, "I'm setting a table in the presence of my enemies." I just demonstrated Yeshua's love and that love became the bridge that transcended her anger and her unbelief. The "ministry of reconciliation" is so desperately needed in our world right now, and as overwhelming as the divisions are around us, we can still find small ways to build bridges by following in the footsteps of Yeshua. Asher says, "As by the wounds of Yeshua we are healed, so do we help heal the relationships of others by standing in the gap, absorbing the hit of their anger and sin."
The cross was His price paid to reconcile man back to God. Denying ourselves and taking up our "cross" daily to follow His example is the price we can pay to reconcile with one another.