Marietta First United Methodist Church

Reconciled and Reconciling

By Rev. Lori Ethridge
Minister to Senior Adults

I love the theatre, and last week I had plenty of opportunities to be entertained. On Thursday, eleven senior adults accompanied me to the Fox Theatre to see The Phantom of the Opera. On Friday and Saturday nights I previewed two other local productions with the possibility in mind of planning additional outings with the senior adults to see The Temple Bombing at the Alliance Theatre and Having Our Say: The Delaney Sisters’ First Hundred Years at the Georgia Ensemble Theatre in Roswell. I was spellbound by both productions, and I highly recommend each of them. Perhaps, because February is Black History Month, there is an “agenda” in the theatrical community to bring the stories of racial persecution and white privilege to life on stage. I need that, especially as a white Southerner over the age of fifty. While I was entertained I was also convicted and challenged. It is important to “speak the truth in love” about our horrific racial history in this country, for only then can we hope to create a space where true reconciliation can occur. According to Tom Key, the local actor who spoke at our last Beth Berman Dinner, community theatre has an important role in allowing for that safe space to happen, however, I think the primary responsibility for creating that space falls to the church.  As Paul says in Ephesians 2:13-14. “But now in Christ Jesus you who were once far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us.” This marvelous and miraculous reconciliation of which Paul speaks is the vocation of the church, the believers in Jesus Christ.

Bishop Will Willimon of Duke Divinity School has a new book out entitled, Who Lynched Willie Earle? I have only read a review, but apparently, in this volume, Bishop Willimon declares, that “God has raised the (brown-skinned) body of crucified (lynched) Jesus from the dead. Now we know what God is up to, whose side God is on. God rejected our violent rejection of Jesus not through violence, but by resurrection and triumphant, vindicating undying love – and then commissioned even those who betrayed him and fled (disciples like us) to give the news about Jesus’ return to us.” Our work in Lent is
examine our lives, to repent of our sin, and to be not only reconciled, but also reconciling.