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In their excellent book on reconciliation, Emmanuel Katongole and Chris Rice share a story about how small acts of beauty, done well, can lead to reconciliation:

A friend told us of visiting a very large religious community with a long history of activism and service. For generations St. Benedict’s monastery had built hospitals and sent teachers into public schools. In its early history on the American frontier, it had literally saved the lives of weary travelers with its hospitality. Walking with one of the sisters in the community’s beautifully cared for cemetery, our friend asked what the elderly sister loved most about her community.

“We do death well,” she said. “You should see a funeral here. It’s really a beautiful culmination of a life lived in worship of God.” Over time a community like this monastery can transform a place through its service and work, creating space for human life to flourish. But such a community is sustained through small acts of beauty like doing death well. These acts point to a deeper vision that is easily lost in the urgencies of a broken world. They are themselves seeds in this broken world that are just as prophetic as our work for justice and peace.

Taken from Reconciling All Things: A Christian Vision for Justice, Peace and Healing by Emmanuel Katongole and Chris Rice Copyright (c) 2008 by Emmanuel Katongole and Chris Rice. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL. www.ivpress.com

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