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9 April 2021
The resurrection of Jesus is about restoring broken relationships.
Words Janine and Robert Donaldson
A friend of ours has a most intriguing collection of crosses, each from a different location and each carrying a particular meaning.
Among them is an olive wood cross that was made in the town of Jesus’ birth, Bethlehem. Another, from the Netherlands, has the vine and branches carved onto its surface, representing [the Bible book of] John, chapter 15. A cross from the Democratic Republic of Congo, made from a spent bullet casing, reflects sacrificial service and reconciliation. The cross was a gift to a Salvation Army officer (pastor) who served there for 38 years.
There’s also a Coventry Cross made from three iron nails. The original version was made from three large medieval nails salvaged from Coventry Cathedral after the building was severely damaged during a bombing raid in World War Two. The Coventry Cross is a well-known symbol of peace and reconciliation.
Reconciliation is a key theme of the cross of Jesus Christ. In some ways, the vertical axis can represent reconciliation with God, and the horizontal axis reconciliation with each other. The Apostle Paul develops our thinking on this in 2 Corinthians chapter 5, verse 18: “God … who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other” (The Message Bible translation).
What does reconciliation with God look like? God makes it possible, through the death and resurrection of Jesus, to restore to health a relationship that was fractured; from a broken relationship to one of peace, harmony, access and closeness.
What does reconciliation with others look like? It is the restoration of good relationships; to settle differences; or quite simply, to come together. This is important for all who are in relationship tension, but of special focus for non-indigenous Australians with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The Salvation Army is committed to this through our Reconciliation Action Plan*.
May God help us to be reconciled to him and to each other.
Commissioners Janine and Robert Donaldson are the leaders of The Salvation Army Australia.
* The Salvation Army in Australia launched its national Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) in December last year. It provides a framework and living document to guide The Salvation Army’s engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and our reconciliation initiatives.