The ugliness and violence of our world can be a challenge to our faith. But Christians are a resurrection people. We take seriously the horror of suffering and pain, evil and death. But as Christians, we insist that suffering and pain and evil and death are not the end of the story, that God is at work, bringing new life even out of death, that love wins in the end.
That faith can keep us going. Our world sometimes seems to be coming apart. But in his letter to the Colossians, Paul writes, “in Christ all things hold together” (1:17). Our world sometimes seems to be defined by alienation and brokenness. But, Paul tells us, “Through [Christ] God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross” (1:20). All things.
It is not always easy to see Christ at work in the world around us. It is not always easy to see the reconciliation that Christ is bringing about even now. But as people of faith, we do our best to look beyond the horrific violence of our world to the One who is constantly at work in our midst, bringing about reconciliation and wholeness.
Ultimate reconciliation is God’s work, not ours. But, as people of faith, we are called to join in Christ’s work of reconciliation. We are called to speak a word of peace. We are called to share God’s vision of reconciliation and hope. We are called “to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with our God” Micah 6:8). We are called to act as Christ’s hands in the world, doing our small part to transform the world from the nightmare it is for some into the dream that God has for it.
My own part in transforming the world is small indeed. But each of us can at least continue to hope and to work for reconciliation in our personal lives by refusing to submit to hatred or anger or simple incivility, by striving for forgiveness and love and mercy.
And we can pray. We pray for the victims of violence. We pray for the victims of hopelessness. We pray for the victims of poverty and injustice and oppression. We pray for all people who suffer. We pray that they will know the healing love of God. We pray for the reconciliation that Christ is bringing about.