Ever since our pilgrim band toured St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin in April, I have been haunted and challenged by something we saw which is pictured here. The story goes that in 1492 two families, the Butlers and the Fitzgeralds, were in a bitter power feud over who would hold the position of Lord Deputy. The conflict escalated into warfare and the Butlers took refuge in the Cathedral Chapter House. The Fitzgeralds followed them there and demanded they come out, which they refused to do, fearing they would be slaughtered. To break the stand-off and as a gesture of good faith, Gerald Fitzgerald had a hole cut into the door through which he thrust his right arm and offered his hand in peace to the Butlers, knowing that they might choose to cut off his arm. But the Butlers realized Fitzgerald must be serious to take such a risk and after shaking hands through the door, the Butlers emerged and the families made peace with each other. The door was preserved and is called The Door of Reconciliation.

In 2 Corinthians, Paul writes, "...if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation...All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation." Looking at that door with the hole hacked in it, I asked myself if I would have been able to take the risk that Fitzgerald did. I kept hearing Jesus say, "As the Father has sent me, so I send you." In a world where divisions seem to increase and hostility seems to grow in every realm of life, what are we willing to risk in order to be ambassadors of reconciliation?

 

  The Reverend Canon Marty Hedgpeth
  Associate Rector
  Christ Episcopal Church
   hedgpethm@christchurchcharlotte.org