2 Corinthians 5:20-21 – So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (NRSV)
Two years ago this week I was in Salvador, Brazil with the World Council of Churches' Conference on Mission and Evangelism. We went down to the docks of that ancient city and looked at the cobblestone wharf that had stood there for four hundred years.
There were six hundred of us there and not a whisper could be heard. Across those stones had walked, limped or crawled somewhere between ten and sixteen million human beings, torn from their homes and families and brought as slaves to this new world of beauty and bounty. Ten to sixteen million Africans. Many of the people at the Conference were African delegates. The people from Ghana brought with them a large stone. This stone, which was called the stone of tears, had been part of the dock in Africa where many of those ten to sixteen million people had been loaded into ships and was one of the last things African ever to touch their feet. The people boarding the ships had been sold to whites but they had been sold by other blacks taken for the most part in tribal wars. The African delegates came that day asking their distant South American cousins to forgive them for the part they had played in such a terrible act. A service of reconciliation and healing was held on that dock and my heart was broken because it was my people who desperately needed the forgiveness that was freely expressed on that dock that day two years ago.
Prayer: Gracious God, you have called together a people to be the church of Jesus Christ from every tribe and nation of the earth. May your people in their diversity be one in faith and discipleship, breaking bread together, and telling good news of peace and reconciliation, so that the world may believe you are love, turn to your ways, and live in the light of your truth through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.