Easter is a Reconciliation
Philip Yancey shares the following story in his book What’s So Amazing About Grace?:
In 1987 an IRA bomb went off in a town west of Belfast. Eleven died; 63 were wounded. Gordon Wilson, a cloth merchant and devout Methodist, was buried with his 20–year–old daughter under five feet of concrete and brick. "Daddy, I love you very much," were Marie's last words, grasping her father's hand.
From his hospital bed, Wilson said, "I've lost my daughter, but I bear no grudge. Bitter talk is not going to bring Marie back. I shall pray every night that God will forgive them."
Once recovered, Wilson crusaded for reconciliation. Protestant extremists who had planned to avenge the bombing decided, because of the publicity surrounding Wilson, that such behavior would be politically foolish. Wilson wrote a book about his daughter and spoke out against violence, constantly repeating, "Love is the bottom line."
He met with the IRA, personally forgave them, and asked them to lay down their arms. "You've lost loved ones, just like me," he told them. "Surely, enough blood has been spilled."
When he died in 1995, all Ireland and Britain honored this ordinary citizen for his uncommon forgiveness.
Stories of reconciliation like this stay with us. And they can be found wherever long-lasting blood feuds occur. They are told in Post WWII Germany and in South Africa. We find them in the American South and in Israel. There are many such stories in Rwanda. Wherever two groups of people have perpetrated unspeakable atrocities against one another, there are also these remarkable stories of reconciliation.
I think we love them because they are a reflection of supernatural love. They remind us of grace and mercy. I believe they are descendants of the greatest act of reconciliation this world has ever seen—one astonishing act of forgiveness that brought about a cosmic reconciliation between the Creator and the cosmos. We’ll talk about it this Sunday.