Thursday, February 28, 2013

I Repent

Our texts we will read in worship for this third Sunday in Lent are Philippians 3:17-4:1 and Luke 13:1-9.  However, I would also invite you to read the Old Testament selection for this week, which is Isaiah 55:1-9.  All three of these texts can be found here.

All three of these texts talk about what is a major theme of the season of Lent:  repentance.  You may not immediately notice it in these readings because, other than the Gospel reading, the call to repentance is not super obvious; i.e., the word "repent" is not always used to say what God hopes we will do.  Rather, in the Isaiah reading we are invited to "return"--which makes sense, since the word "repent" means, at its root, "turning."  Paul, meanwhile, in Philippians speaks of being transformed--something he talks about in other places in his letters as well (most notably Romans 12:2, which encourages those on the expedition of faith to "not be conformed to this world,but be transformed by the renewing of your mind")--being changed or, again, "turned around."  Jesus, however, does use the word "repent" explicitly in his charge to the anxious crowds who were questioning him as he moved along the road to Jerusalem.  The time for change has come; and God is giving them extra time to make this change, but still, the need to make it is urgent.  They need to repent; to turn; to be transformed by the renewing of their minds.

What does this look like for us?  This morning as I have been working on the sermon, I have had a song running through my head that I have not listened to in years:  Derek Webb's "I Repent."  I would encourage you to click on the link to the YouTube video below (if you are receiving this by email, you might need to go to the actual blog webpage to click this link) and give the song a listen.  I am particularly captured by the way I feel the song's last verse intersects with this week's readings:

i repent of trading truth for false unity
i repent of confusing peace and idolatry
of caring more of what they think than what i know of what they need
and domesticating You until You look just like me
i am wrong and of these things i repent

How do these lyrics and this idea of repentance intersect this week's readings?  How do they intersect your life?  What sort of repentance--turning--transformation--might God be inviting us to journey towards in this season?

1 comment:

Jeremy said...

Wonderful song, Abby. I still haven't really listened to his solo music yet, despite multiple recommendations. I'm working my way through AP, though, at your suggestion!

For me, if I'm honest with myself, the more convicting/powerful verse is the 2nd:

I repent, I repent of parading my liberty
I repent, I repent of paying for what I get for free
And for the way I believe that I am living right
By trading sins for others that are easier to hide
I am wrong and of these things I repent

It's a struggle not to rationlize, to use my God given reason, and instead balance it with God's mystery and grace. Or, put another way, it's hard to make repentence (and turning) more about my trust in God's grace and power instead of about what I do/think on any given day.