There’s a word that shows up in this Gospel lesson appointed for today; the word shows up continually in the Scriptures and in the vocabulary of the church: repent. Repentance is both better and worse than you might imagine. The English word translated as “repentance” is the Greek word “metanoia”: a preposition “meta (after) and “noia” (to think or observe). “Metanoia” – repentance – is something we conclude in hindsight where we realize we had it wrong: something we have done or left undone, said or left unsaid that was wrong. Maybe a conclusion or a judgment call about something or someone which we now see wasn’t right. It may be a whole pattern of actions, brazenly in the open or in the secrecy of darkness that may have snowballed out of control, and it’s wrong. It’s got to stop; we can see it, sadly. And so that’s the other piece about repentance. Repentance isn’t just wisdom gleaned from experience; repentance is regret gleaned from sorrow. We cannot go on, we simply cannot live with ourselves that way any longer. Repentance is hindsight teeming with regret, enough so to fuel a change in life. Repentance is both better and worse than you might imagine. Continue reading
I Peter 5:1-4
The Christian life is a life of transformation. The call to follow Christ is a call to a lifelong process of conversion. It requires us to let go of our former identities – built on our gifts, our achievements, and our social standing – in order to embrace a new identity in Christ. It asks us to set aside our selfish goals and pursuits to take on a new set of priorities and values. It invites us to become changed people: people whose lives are characterized by love, joy, peace, patience, kindness and humility. It summons us to treat every person we meet with dignity and respect, seeing that they too are made in the image of God. “If anyone is in Christ,” writes St. Paul, “there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, there is a new creation!” (II Cor. 5:17) Continue reading
Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord Jesus Christ
I think it’s quite intriguing to consider how Jesus developed from his childhood onward. As Luke says, Jesus grows in wisdom and stature[i], and Jesus also grows in freedom to be fully himself, fully alive. How Jesus perceives himself, and how he perceives others, and how others perceive him grows, and develops, and changes. People will change for good – we will change for good – when three things are present: when we are eagerly desirous or absolutely desperate to change; where we can imagine a thread reaching from our past to our present and into our future, which gives us a sense of continuity so that we don’t get lost. And then there’s one other important component in our being able to change, which I’ll say in a moment. Continue reading
Ten lepers called out: “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” When he saw them, Jesus said: “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” As they went, they were made clean.
As they went. Not at the moment Jesus spoke. Not at the moment they met the priests. As they went. As they followed Jesus’ invitation. As they did the next thing asked, as they journeyed. As they went, they were healed. Healing may happen in motion, in process, as we go, as we live, as we follow. During a short walk or over a long journey. At a particular point in time or as a process into which we receive glimpses of insight. Continue reading
“We are worthless slaves; we have only done what we ought to have done.” Worthless and slaves. With those pungent words an episode in the life of Jesus seems to come to an abrupt close. The very next verse has Jesus suddenly on the way to Jerusalem, somewhere between Samaria and Galilee where he’s about to heal some lepers.
“We are worthless slaves”. The Bible doesn’t record what was said after those jarring words. But I’m sure it wasn’t the end of the conversation. I’ve come to know on no good authority whatsoever what happened next, but I am sworn to secrecy as to the source of this information. You would have good reason to be suspicious of this source. But if you’ll hold at bay the fierce dogs of skepticism for just a few minutes I’ll tell you what I heard happened next… Continue reading