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Making peace

As I write, this last week has seen an historic moment as the leader of North Korea stepped over the border to be greeted by the president of South Korea, the first time, I believe, such a meeting has taken place since they were partitioned in the 1940s. As little as a month or so ago, when North Korean missiles capable of bearing a nuclear warhead were being tested and both sides were manoeuvring their militaries on the border, this seemed an inconceivably remote prospect. Yet, despite the posturing and the provocations, they have joined together to talk, to eat, hopefully – for the world's sake – to make a lasting peace.

We have not long since been reminded of the great strides that were taken in Northern Ireland twenty years ago with the Good Friday Agreement. Despite the recent difficulties, that was an astonishing achievement. Reconciliation on that level – the friendship which grew for example between Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness – is sadly rare but an astonishingly precious and wonderful thing when we see it.

I was recently remembering one of the most moving ceremonies I've taken part in. It was just a simple ring blessing with a married couple and some of their family, but this was a couple who had got almost to the final stage of a deeply acrimonious divorce – with battles over custody rights and property – who had taken a breath, stepped back from the fight and decided to give their marriage another go. The joy as they recommitted themselves (and still together, 12 years on) was amazing.

Reconciliation is Jesus' business. He came to bring peace between God and humanity, to reconcile a relationship that my actions try to break every day. He also longs to see peace in our relationships too. I am still saddened at times by the families I see divided, the grudges and feuds over small disagreements that have hardened over years, even within churches. Is there someone you are at odds with. Do you have the courage, with God's help, to take the same steps we've seen between the Koreas, to step over those self-imposed borders and make peace?

St. Peter's Church

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