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—for Alice

How many times has the wind sung
new verses to our familiar choruses,

we’ve seen only the clouds
and misread the signs?

We seek peace in a mirror.  And looking,
when we should have been listening,

missed prophetic thunder
in the blackening of trees.

But new birth accents the possible,
disguised in the freshness of a sudden, spring rain.

The time has come
to throw out spoiled milk.

There are evergreens already,
birds singing low in the brush.

Yet how many nights
have we slept on old, cotton sheets,

clinging to comfortable tintypes,
content with the smaller of joys?

First published in Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal

Reconciliation is much more than a one-time event by which a conflict is resolved and peace established. A ministry of reconciliation goes far beyond problem solving, mediation, and peace agreements. There is not a moment in our lives without the need for reconciliation. When we dare to look at the myriad hostile feelings and thoughts in our hearts and minds, we will immediately recognize the many little and big wars in which we take part. Our enemy can be a parent, a child, a “friendly” neighbor, people with different lifestyles, people who do not think as we think, speak as we speak, or act as we act. They all can become “them.” Right there is where reconciliation is needed.

Reconciliation touches the most hidden parts of our souls. God gave reconciliation to us as a ministry that never ends.

December 2006