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All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation... 2 Corinthians 5. 18

The Gaelic word pronounced ray-cha expresses the achievement of Jesus on the cross, paying the price for sin and reopening the possibility for intimacy with God. It is the solution to the problems raised in the 5th chapter of Solomon's Song of Songs and it is the theme of St Paul's 2nd Letter to the Corinthians. It is also what is most lacking in the world today. We are at odds with everything and everyone. We see it on a macro-level in the eruption of conflict and our hostile behaviour towards the environment and on a micro-level in family breakdown and mental illness.

St Paul pleads with his Corinthian friends to allow their reconciliation with God to restore their affection for him and to resume their charitable efforts on behalf of fellow-believers in Jerusalem. And he makes his appeal on the basis of the aforementioned work of Jesus on the cross. Today's Church has the same mandate: appealing to a world at war to beat its weapons into instruments of peaceful cultivation, so that we join in Jesus' great project to heal and restore. To use a hackneyed phrase we must "build back better", not just from Covid but after generations and centuries of injustice, neglect and destruction.

In the Solomonic wisdom tradition of the Song of Songs this begins with our rehearsing the beauty of those we love: our spouse, human and divine, our neighbour, our enemy, the communities we inhabit and the homes we share. What if we started every day by pondering their qualities rather than nursing our wrath? Exercising such an attitude cultivates behaviour which, in turn, steers us away from remaining part of the problem in favour of becoming agents of the solution. It starts on our knees, in praise and confession leading to thanksgiving and intercession. And in the power of the Holy Spirit words become actions...



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