Friday, January 25, 2019
Meeting Jesus Again...Anew
From that time Jesus began to proclaim, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.
Ah, repentance...classic churchy term. Usually the way the church talks about repentance makes you want to grab an umbrella because it is about to start raining guilt. Usually, repentance suggests and says, "You have messed up so bad Mister...good Lord!" Usually, the list is so long, that we forget that whole baptismal belovedness we have been talking about here in the posts. Usually, we have so turned people off on the church because we merge repentance and that image of the devil together as a powerful, potent process of fear.
We have wandered so far away from the Jewish understanding of repentance, which simply means change. Change your mind. Change your direction. Change the way you are seeing/being/living. Not because God is out to get you...but because there is a more life giving way to be about the world. Not because of some future state of your soul, but because the present state is churning restlessly. As the saints say, "Our hearts are restless until we find rest in God."
Repentance is an intentional and prayerful action to put God in the center and core of our life. And when we do that, we just know God will undo all our neat and tidy ways of being in the world. God will enter in with a love of self, other, and world. God will disrupt/interrupt our desire to say who gets the golden ticket to heaven and who gets to hang out with that dude in the red suit for the previous posts. God will keep saying, turn back toward belovedness...even in this wilderness of life right here and now.
I am not sure we will ever like repentance in our lives, but that isn't the point. The point isn't to make us feel warm and fuzzy...the point is to embody fully/wholly/holy the sacred fingerprints on each of our lives...as well as recognize that truth in others...especially to recognize the ways our souls are made of the same stuff as soil. Those truths cause us to change. Those truths can challenge us more than we could ever say.
But the point isn't one and done...one prayer at one point in our life. The point is a daily invitation to realign our lives with the One who is life and light and love. The point is to keep open the invitation to change our lives not only with the rising of the sun, but the going down of the same.
So may the invitation to repent...which is said not with a fist pounding a pulpit...but a whisper of God who says your name, offer more than a trace of grace in your life this day and this week.