Mister Rogers and the ministry of reconciliation

2 corinthians on work Jul 04, 2022

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. (2 Corinthians 5:18-20)

On August 31, 2001, millions of children sat in front of their TVs to watch the final episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Eleven days later, a dramatically different scene unfolded on those same screens as the world watched terrorists fly airplanes into the World Trade Center. 

Recently retired, Mister Rogers was drafted back into service to help comfort children and their parents. After recognizing the horrific events of 9/11, Rogers ended his televised address on a hopeful note saying, “No matter what our particular job, especially in our world today, we all are called to be ‘tikkun olam,’ repairers of creation.”

Given Rogers’s devout Christian faith, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he had today’s passage in mind as he penned those words. Rogers understood that the kingdom of God isn’t going to come in one fell swoop. It is going to come slowly like a mustard seed growing into a tree or yeast folding into dough (see Matthew 13:31-33). And it’s going to come at least in part through you and me—those who have been given what Paul calls “the ministry of reconciliation.”

In today’s passage, Paul makes it clear that that ministry has two parts. On the one hand, we are to “implore” other people to “be reconciled to God.” But human beings aren’t the only thing in need of reconciliation. Paul says that God is “reconciling the world to himself.” The Greek word for “world” here is kosmos meaning that Christ’s redemption truly does flow “far as the curse is found.”

What does this mean for our work? It means that the work you do to fix broken processes at work, fight for justice, create beauty, and share the gospel—all of it is a part of your “ministry of reconciliation.” God is “making his appeal” to a broken world “through [you],” believer. Be a joyful ambassador for him and his gospel today!


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