Making Amends by Trevor Thompson, Director of Pastoral Ministries
25th Sunday of Ordinary Time

I still clearly recall the first time my mother and father met seven years after their short, rocky marriage and divorce, and my father’s subsequent journey to sobriety.  As I skipped flat stones on the surface of Lake James in a northern Indiana state park, my father and mother walked along the lower basin and somehow found the space to make amends with each other.  I don’t exactly know what was said between them that afternoon, but as my mother and father went their separate ways, I knew that something that was fractured felt put back together, a debt had been let go, a battle ended.  It felt freer to be their son.      

Today’s lectionary readings turn our attention to this liberating power of forgiveness and reconciliation we are called to as Christians.  The Church has a long history of being a place where people find this healing.  Through the Sacrament of reconciliation, the Church offers the healing touch of God, and as we continue to find strength and courage in God’s love and mercy, we too offer this love and mercy to others.  But living this out in our lives is not easy.  Our grudges seem to give us a sense of security, and it’s so difficult to let go of the tit for tat accounting, even with those closest to us.  So too, our own past failures frequently leave us questioning our own worth and God’s love.  Whether by confrontation or by running away, we seem to find a myriad of ways to avoid entering the forgiving and reconciling space to which Christ calls us.

I want to highlight a couple ways we might find the space and the strength to be a people who make amends.  First, I want to point to Stephen Ministry.  If you need to talk to someone about a grudge or an open wound, Stephen Ministry provides trained pastoral ministers for one-on-one conversation and emotional and spiritual support.  Through empathetic listening, prayerful support, and offering other resources and referrals as needed, many have found Stephen Ministers to be immensely helpful through some turbulent and transitional moments of their lives, especially times where we are in grief, in doubt, and when needing to make amends.  If you would like to meet with a trained Stephen Minister, please contact me at 919-847-8205×270.  Also, I’d like to highlight the next Project Rachel Retreat.  This “Healing After Abortion” retreat is for men and women who have experienced the wound of abortion and are looking for God’s love, healing and reconciliation in a supportive and confidential environment.  From October 21, 2011 to October 23 at the Short Journey Retreat Center in Smithfield, NC, this is another beautiful opportunity to make amends.  For more information, contact Project Rachel directly at projectrachel@nc.rr.com or 919-852-1021.  Also see brochures in the Stewardship Center.  God longs for us to be free and to free others in Christ; yes, making amends seventy-seven times.