Forest Lake Talks

A Lenten Message from Ellen

March 6, 2019

Dear Friends,

To Reconcile:

(1a)             To restore to friendship or to harmony

(1b)        Settle or resolve

(2)                 to make consistent or congruous

(3)                 To cause to submit to or to accept something

(4a) To check (a financial account) against another for accuracy

(4b) To account for

(Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

One of the values on which our congregation has focused this year – following the lead of our Officers’ Retreat – is reconciliation.  Reconciliation is a hard value to live, and it seems very hard to figure out how to achieve this high Christian standard.  And yet, the Apostle Paul wrote that “in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us.” (2 Cor 5:19)

As I wrote these words,  I received word that Tina Dillard died after a long, courageous, painful fight against pancreatic cancer.  Tina and Larry are newer members of our faith family.  They came to Forest Lake in the midst of Tina’s fight against cancer, and have been embraced by this community.

There is much about the world as it exists that I find impossible to reconcile: cancer and disease, child abuse, famine, evil, suffering, grief, and on and on and on.  And yet, one of the foundational demands of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that we are to be both reconciled to God and to work for the reconciliation of the world.  The claim of our faith is that in some way, that we can’t fully understand in this life, Christ’s suffering for us opened a door that allows us to be reconciled to God.  And that it is our own suffering and grief that most often opens us to the possibility of being reconciled to God and to one another.

This Lenten Season, in worship and here in our online blog, we will explore together what we believe it means to be reconciled to God and to be God’s messengers of reconciliation to the world.  You are welcome to send us your observations, ideas or pictures for posting here.   How and where have you experienced reconciliation?  Do you believe we can be reconciled to God?  How? What must we do to be messengers of reconciliation to the world?

Holy Lent!


Ellen Fowler Skidmore

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