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  • Writer's pictureHarry Smith

God’s “Good Friday Agreement.”

Updated: Apr 16

In a recent article published by Contemporary Christianity, it concluded with this incredible quote from a talk Archbishop Eamon Martin gave at the Living the Agreement - Legacy Matters Conference:

“I am convinced that our inability, and perhaps even our unwillingness, to decommission mindsets and to find a way of sensitively opening up the wounds of past and allow deep, inner healing, has prevented us from achieving the kind of conflict transformation envisioned in the Good Friday Agreement (April 1998 - mine) and mandated by referenda, north and south, on 22 May that year.  Twenty-five years on, we need to keep reminding ourselves that the Agreement was not simply about the cessation of hostilities and the silencing of the bomb and the bullet; it spoke more widely about the building of a peaceful society through a restoration of relationships.”

“… a restoration of relationships” - how do we achieve that? For those who know me, they will know that I hold the understanding that undergirding the politics and historic belief systems in our divided society is an oft forgotten spiritual dynamic. 

As much as we applaud the measure of peace achieved through the Good Friday Agreement by politicians, church leaders and others working for reconciliation here, it is a flawed Agreement! We forget that the rulers, authorities, powers of darkness, spiritual forces of evil have vested interests here through what has been called “the Empire spirit.” Layer upon layer, century after century Satan used the British Crown and Church - before and after the Reformation - to pit us against each other. Blood has been shed, the land has been polluted, the blood cries out and the heart of God for Ireland grieves. 

We shouldn’t be surprised that Satan has also taken what is central to the heart of God as he relates to us - Covenant. By corrupting that, Satan is “shaking a fist” in the face of God! He has succeeded to dupe both communities here to make covenants against each other (1912 &1916) - invoking nationalism, Deity and blood sacrifice - we have ended up with a counter covenantal society. The Good Friday Agreement has sought to merge us into a government, but this dynamic has frustrated that - hence the persistent nonfunctioning Assembly!

I spoke with my Publisher this week. The final draft of “A Tree has Roots” is now ready to be sent to him. The process of making it into a booklet is inching forward. I so readily connect with the Archbishop’s statement. I know in the depth of my being that God wants to use this booklet to decommission mindsets, to sensitively open up the wounds of the past and allow the deep healing, which I know is only possible in Christ. He is the reconciler, something he wants us to partner in, with him.

As I have talked with other leaders, regarding the booklet, I know that God has given me a unique insight in the very roots of our divided history. The “empire spirit” which entered into the Church back in the early 4th century through Constantine, was seeded into Ireland in 1155 by Henry II with Papal authority. It traversed the Reformation though the Protestant Crown and Church, manifesting itself in the sectarian politics and church of today. This is not Christianity! This is Christendom! God is exposing this lie. He is calling us to stand together, no longer as “us v them”, to own and repent for what we have been doing to ourselves and others. This is what Paul pointed to in my opening scripture. We are being called afresh to appropriate God’s Good Friday Agreement, made for us on a cross!

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