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the now-famous poet Elizabeth Barrett became the wife of Robert Browning in
the mid 1800’s, her parents disowned her because they disapproved of the
marriage. Their daughter Elizabeth, however, wrote almost every week,
telling them that she loved them and longed for reconciliation. After 10
years, she received a huge box in the mail that contained all the notes she
had sent. Not one had been opened! Although these "love letters" have now
become a precious part of classical English literature, it’s really sad to
think that they were never read by her parents. If they had looked at just
one, the broken relationship with their daughter might have been healed.
George C. Wallace, governor of Alabama, literally stood
in the door of the University of Alabama, preventing
Vivian Malone Jones, a black woman, from enrolling as a
student. Thirty-three years later, Wallace awarded Miss
Jones the first Lurleen B. Wallace Award of Courage,
(The award, named in honor of his wife, recognizing
women who have made outstanding contributions to the
state of Alabama.) Wallace publicly apologized to Jones
for the 1963 controversy; Jones in turn publically
forgave Wallace. This event became a monument of
reconciliation and forgiveness.
In 1913, the Federal government held a fiftieth
anniversary reunion at Gettysburg. It lasted three days.
Thousands of survivors camped in the old battlefield,
swapping stories, looking up comrades.
The climax of the gathering was a reenactment of
Pickett's Charge. Thousands of spectators gathered to
watch as the Union veterans took their positions on
opposite ridges and started toward each other. Philip
Myers, [who witnessed the event as an 18 year old]
wrote, "We could see not rifles or bayonets; nothing but
canes and crutches. We soon could distinguish the more
agile ones aiding those less able to maintain their
places in the ranks."
As they neared the battle line, they broke into one
final, defiant rebel yell. "It was then," wrote Myers,
"that the Yankees, unable to restrain themselves longer,
burst from behind the stone wall, and flung themselves
upon their former enemies...not in mortal combat, but
re-united in brother love and affection." They came
together, old enemies, and
spent several moments in embraced hugs, hand shaking,
and patting each other’s backs.
Corinthians 5:18 reads, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a
new creation; the old has gone the new has come. All of this is from
God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the
ministry of reconciliation…”
[Ron Otto, Lincoln Christian Church]