“From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we no longer know him in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; look, new things have come into being! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ: be reconciled to God. For our sake God made the one who knew no sin to be sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5: 16-21)
The primary purpose of Christian preaching is to invite reconciliation… in every aspect of life. The first step on a journey of reconciliation just may be “I’m sorry”
“I ask for God’s forgiveness, and I want to say to you with all my heart: I am very sorry.”
These words of Pope Francis are just the beginning of a new relationship.
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby visited a school on James Smith Cree Nation to hear accounts from children, grandchildren and survivors of residential schools. “I am sorry. I am more sorry than I can say. I am ashamed. I am horrified,”
National Sorry Day is an annual event that has been held in Australia on 26 May since 1998. The event remembers and commemorates the mistreatment of the country’s Indigenous peoples. The Presbyterian Church in Canada commemorates Healing and Reconciliation Sunday every May (May 21, 2023) to remind us that we too have said “I’m sorry” to the indigenous Peoples of Canada.
Just two little words – “I’m sorry” – and yet they can be the beginning of a new life and a new relationship. These two words open a door to healing and healing can bring reconciliation and reconciliation can be the beginning of a new relationship, whether with Indigenous Peoples, with friends or family or with God.
In the church we begin every worship service with the “I’m sorry” prayer. We call it the prayer of confession. Many of us begin our day with our own personal “I’m sorry” prayer as we ask for forgiveness for the brokenness in our lives. Here is one such prayer you are invited to say as you embrace this day:
Creator God(H&R prayer resources for May 22, 2022)
we live and love imperfectly.
You called us to love our neighbour as ourselves
but collectively we have not, and individually we fall short.
We say all people reflect your image
but our actions betray what we say.
For those of us living with pain or grief caused by racism and colonialism,
we ask you for healing and strength.
For those of us living with privilege and wondering what to do
we ask for the strength to learn, to listen and to work to end systems that oppress.
As you came to set captives free
free us all from those ways of thinking, speaking and acting
that belittle or harm any of your beloved creations
and show us again how to live in your love.
Let us work for reconciliation. Amen