“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.” (Matthew 5:23-24)
Forgiveness and a Converse Tennis Shoe
Here is a short and true ancient story.
Godspell was a musical from the early 70s and has enjoyed a bit of a renaissance over the past few years. The first time I saw it back in the 70s, it was performed by a high school youth group at a large church in the western suburbs of Philadelphia.
When the Christ character would be doing some teaching, preaching or sharing a parable, the remaining actors would become sort of living props. So, when Jesus was reciting this above passage, two teens got on their hands and knees, locked arms and became the altar.
Christ stood behind the altar, and along came a young lady joyously walking up to the altar with an old Converse tennis shoe in her hands. As she knelt and sought to extend the Converse tennis shoe to the altar, Jesus said, “First go and be reconciled.” She placed the tennis shoe at the foot of the altar, stood up, walked across the stage and approached the one that had something against her. They grabbed each other by the lapels, shoved each other, rocking back and forth; stopped, put their hands down and then hugged each other. One girl went happily off one way, and the other joyously went back to the altar and re-offered the tennis shoe.
A couple of weeks later, I was talking to my friend who was the music director at this church and was also the director and ran the rehearsals for Godspell; he told me a story about someone in his choir. After church was over, a man approached my friend and said, “I couldn’t get that stupid Converse tennis shoe out of my mind.” My friend said, “What do you mean?” “Well,” he replied, “There was someone that I had to be reconciled with, and I had to do it before church this morning. And so, I did.”
Mission accomplished — by an old worn-out Converse tennis shoe.
Today’s One Thing:
Paul tells us in his letter to the Ephesians to “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Take time to pray and ask the Lord if there is someone in your life with whom you will you need to be reconciled.