The past few weeks in this world have been hard, dangerous and deadly. An airplane crashes in the Ethiopian wilderness taking 157 lives including 18 Canadians, People got to prayer in a New Zealand city and a man walks into that place of prayer with weapons and 50 people die and other 50 are injured. In Holland, a family argument erupts in gunfire, three more dies while another eight maybe nine people are injured and taken to hospital in Utrecht. And we must not forget the people in southern African who have recently had to deal
I get asked why, if God is good, does he allow such things as these to happen in the world? Why does he allow pain and suffering and death? Why doesn’t God do something about it? Well, in fact, his answer to all of it is his Son. His answer to it all is Jesus.
It is important for people to recognize that without Jesus, there is not one of us right with God; not one. There is nothing we can do to earn life with God and there nothing that we can give that will make us acceptable to God. All of us have sinned (hamartia) and fallen short of the mark, of the glory of God. And we need to understand that sin can and will not survive in the presence of a holy God. If that is what we bring before God, then we will not survive.
Now, let’s keep in mind that Jesus suffered as we have but did not sin. The Gospel that Jesus and the Church proclaims is a call to come to life and not face death and the grave. Such a message is a mercy to those who are in sin and are dying (not broken!) because God in Christ calls the world to himself and he stands between you and the disaster (death and the grave) that is coming, working at drawing you to himself. This is mercy. The Gospel is about moving from glory
Repentance is necessary if we are to deal with the sin that is in our lives, in our congregations and in our communities. Repentance is more than being sorry for the wrongs that have been done, whether it is what has been done or not been done. Sorrow is a first step and the ground on which the change may start. Repentance is more the stepping out and stepping up to live the life faithfully that God has called us to live according to the new covenant we have with him in Baptism. We are called to live out that covenant living in love with one another and in the upholding of the Spirit that we might live a life that has the fruit of repentance.
We need to be ready to live the new life in the new creation and we need to live it in the here and now by (1) acknowledging and confessing Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, (2) being responsible stewards of all that God has given us, (3) to live confidently in the provision of what God has given us for life and ministry, (4) be ready for him and faithful in all that we do and say, and (5) be ready because there is trouble ahead or we might miss out on what God has for us in the days ahead.
Repentance is not about the darkness of your sin but the brilliance of your repentance. It is not about how bad you have been but about the change that has come into your life because you are living it towards God now. Repentance is about turn away from the world, with its demands, assumptions, attitudes and actions. We do this to be able to live the values and the practices of the Kingdom of God.
This world is dying and coming apart. Christ and his cross are present to draw people to himself and to call them from destruction into life. Therefore, this is the day, this is the hour when we turn to God and begin to walk toward him again. That is Good News for everyone if they want to hear it.