From the Rector’s Study
Sunday, September 6th, Pentecost XIV, Community Conflict Resolution
Exodus 12:1-14, Psalm 149, Romans 13:8-14, Matthew 18:15-20
This passage in Matthew seems pretty straight forward. It is a how to in resolving conflict of a personal and individual nature, by moving forward in resolving the conflict by bringing witnesses to hear what you say to the person you have the conflict with.
As I think about the notion of witness, I cannot help thinking, if they are true witnesses; they are impartial and could in effect take the side of the other. So this process not only makes sure there isn’t a rush to judgement, and it isn’t just one person’s decision and idea, but gives the chance of reconciliation and understanding on both sides.
Anyone doing marriage counselling takes the first step of making sure both hear the issues the other is talking about. When one articulates a problem, the other is not asked to answer and defend themselves, but to put into their own words what they have heard. In other words, to make sure they are talking about the same things.
Maybe these witnesses can in some way do the same thing.
So this is not just about us getting our own way in a conflict, but being part of a Spiritual Community.
Why do we have public worship and all this means? Private worship is important, but not enough. To continue our spiritual journey and grow in the faith is to be supported and also challenged by others who have a different view. We learn when we disagree and work to understand each other.
Romans reminds me of the question and answer from Mike Warnke an American Christian comedian who when asked, isn’t Christianity just a bunch of does and don’t?
His response was, if you spend your time doing the do’s you ain’t going to have time to do the don’ts.
Romans also talks about love as light rather than darkness. So let us strive to bring light and understanding not darkness and judgement into our relationships with one another.