On becoming Archbishop, Justin Welby identified three priority areas for his ministry: The Renewal of Prayer and the Religious Life; Evangelism and Witness; and Reconciliation.
Reconciliation is at the heart of the Christian faith.
In St Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, he writes:
From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. 17 So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. 20 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. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
(2 Corinthians 5:16-21)
The Christian gospel is that God has chosen, through Jesus Christ, to be reconciled to humanity and our role is to witness to that reconciliation, which is our hope.
But the ministry of reconciliation entrusted to followers of Jesus goes beyond this. We are commissioned by Christ to be reconciled to God and to live that out by being reconciled with one another. These two ‘reconciliations’ are inextricably bound to one another.
23 So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.