December 27, 2010

Because Christ Came

Revelation 7:9-12

There … was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language …
Revelation 7:9


CNN aired a documentary on the genocide of at least 800,000 people in an African country. The narrator told the story of a mother who saw her five children slaughtered by a member of another tribe who had been a friend. When the hostilities ended, the reporter was invited to have dinner at the mother’s home. Among the guests was the man who had murdered the woman’s children. When the reporter asked how she could possibly invite someone who had done such evil, she simply answered, “I am a Christian!”

That mother understood that Christ came to reconcile not only first-century Jews and Gentiles but also tribes and nations and tongues living in the twenty-first century. What she did was a small preview of things to come, when Christ will return, and the words of today’s Scripture will be fulfilled. Because Christ came, the day will come when Palestinians and Jews, Arabs and Americans, and people of every other tribe and nation will stand before the throne as one, praising the Lamb.

Until that day we who have been reconciled with God through Jesus Christ are to bring that reconciliation wherever possible. Beginning with ourselves, we are to reach out to those who are different, who disagree with us, who look different from us. We are to bring the peace that Jesus, the Prince of Peace, came to bring wherever and whenever we are able.

Father, help us to look past differences and to reach out to people we have ignored. Keep hatred from us. In Jesus, Amen.

About the author — Arthur J. Schoonveld

Rev. Art Schoonveld is a retired minister in the Christian Reformed Church. Before retiring in 2001, he served churches in California, Illinois, and Michigan. Since his retirement he has worked part-time for the denomination and has served as an interim pastor. Art and his wife, Anita, have four children and nine grandchildren.

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