What does reconcilation look like?

Today we witnessed what can only be described as a miracle. My only problem is how to do it justice in my description! Bosnia Herzegovina is a country divided in some many ways along ethnic divisions, kept apart by the lack of reconciliation, perhaps even the desire for revenge. But that is not the whole story nor is it a story exclusive to this part of the world. Many have been victims and perpetrators of crimes. Some have found the way to forgive and when you see this played out it is a powerful statement of hope that should not be ignored. I doubt I fully grasp the significance of what I was part of this morning but I felt in some way connected to the unfolding story.

The room was full of people from people, old and young. Some were from a Muslim background, some Croats, some were Roma. There were people from America, we’re from England, a friend from Finland was there. The girl in front of me was a refugee in Sudan for ten years. The meeting was lead by an Evangelical pastor and had addresses from a local Franciscan priest, a German Lutheran priest and a former soldier in Hitler’s Nazi army. The theme was reconciliation. The German’s had brought with them a simple cross fashioned from nails that once held the room of Coventry Cathedral together. Those familiar with English history will know the Cathedral was destroyed by German bombs in World War Two. What we heard of the story of how some of its remains found their way to Mostar, via Germany, was remarkable. In this melting pot of history past and present there was the unmistakable sense of hope for the future.

The elderly ex-soldier from Germany led the gathering in echoing some of Jesus last words – ‘Oprosti Oće’, Father forgive. A religious platitude it was not. It is the truth that brought this roomful of people together. It is the attitude that continues to shape their future and a better tomorrow for their communities. It wasn’t the presentation of a theory but a real-time, real-life demonstration that forgiveness really works. And that is good news, not just for Bosnia Herzegovina, but for a world that all too often would rather prefer to get revenge.


Anonymous said…
Hey Matt and Rowan!
I really enjoyed this post. I agree, I think we really were witnesses to a much larger level of reconciliation than one would normally find here. But hopefully it's one of the sparks to get the fire burning.

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