My connection with Coventry Cathedral started to form almost four years ago when my church in Germany worked on becoming a member of the Community of the Cross of Nails and therefore went on a pilgrimage in May 2014. I was asked to join some other members of my congregation to represent the younger people of our community on this journey and happily accepted this offer. During the pilgrimage we were introduced to the cathedral’s story of reconciliation and Provost Howard’s message of ‘Father Forgive’, which were very moving and impressive for me. The radical idea of forgiving the enemy, especially in that war situation, was overwhelming for me. But do not get me wrong, I mean this in a positive way.
In today’s Thought for the Week, I want to talk about my thoughts on the Litany of Reconciliation which I first engaged with at the pilgrimage I mentioned above. This text which is at the core of the Community of the Cross of Nails starts with a quote from Romans 3:23: “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”. Though this could be understood as quite a negative and depressing statement as it shows the imperfection and failure that we are facing in ourselves every day, this quote is quite an uplifting and relieving one for me. Because seen in combination with the steadily repeated ‘Father Forgive’ it allows me to accept that I am not and cannot be perfect but God forgave me this imperfection through his son Jesus Christ.
This leads me to the end of the Litany, where there is used another quote from Ephesians 4:32: “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ forgave you”. For me this is a demand that God is asking me to do, to share the gift of forgiveness that I received from him with others.
Looking at these two quotes together, they describe what we at the Reconciliation Ministry state as what enables us as Christians to do reconciliation work with the words “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, and has entrusted us the Ministry of reconciliation” which is taken from 2 Corinthians 5:18. Being reconciled to our God because of the death of his son Jesus Christ and because of the knowledge of us being forgiven, we are enabled and asked to show this mercy and forgiveness to the world we are surrounded by.
This message and therefore the Community of the Cross of Nails inspired me to be part of the amazing reconciliation work that is done at Coventry Cathedral because it welled up in me the desire to be part of it which made me apply to this internship. So I think I am right when I say that the Community of the Cross of Nails is a major reason why I am where I am now because without it I would never would have come to Coventry and started my own journey of reconciliation.