Matthew 5:23: If you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.
Jesus says that whoever is angry with his brother will be guilty before the court, and whoever insults his brother will go to fiery hell (Matthew 5:22). Yet, Jesus never forbids anger. Instead, Jesus tells us what to do when we get angry.
What we do is seek reconciliation with the brother with whom we are in conflict. If a brother has something against you, reconciliation should be your highest priority. Even worship takes second place. Leave your gift at the altar and seek peace – that’s the way to kill anger.
Jesus’ words apply directly here. This table is our altar, and this bread and wine are the signs of the sacrifice of Jesus. If you are estranged from a brother, or know that a brother has something against you, what are you doing here?
Here at Trinity, we embody Jesus’ instructions liturgically with the passing of the peace. The peace isn’t just for greeting or catching up with friends. It’s an opportunity to be reconciled to an offended brother before you come to the Lord’s table, this table of reconciliation, this New Covenant peace offering.
posted by Peter J. Leithart on Sunday, March 11, 2012 at 6:54 am
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