Chapter 1
Living Reconciliation

Chapter Summary

The book begins with a challenge for all of us to be agents of reconciliation. We venerate great heroes of peace, but they know that reconciliation only happens when everyone gets involved. Reconciliation is a task for all. Reconciliation is impossible to define but it is understood in stories, such as the story of Coventry Cathedral. The greatest story of reconciliation is the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, who broke the barrier between God and humanity so that in the power of the Holy Spirit we are enabled to break down the walls that divide us. This victory was confirmed by the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and lives within the church through history and across the world. Reconciliation is not an interest area for some Christians – it is the Gospel. It is not an action; it is a way of being. Despite this every church, right from the time of the writing of the New Testament, has lived in conflict. Conflict can be a healthy sign of vitality, but it can be destructive. Some church conflicts have resulted in war. The Anglican Communion has faced conflicts and has a story to tell. The genesis of this book was in the response of a number of Kenyan theologians to conflict in church and their nation. They understood that Anglicans could not be agents of reconciliation in their communities unless we were living it in our churches and when we live reconciliation in our churches we become agents of transformation in our communities. The chapter concludes with an overview of the life of the apostle Peter, highlighting his enthusiasm and his heroic continual failure. We will return to his story throughout the book.

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