“Unless you repent, you too will perish.” Jesus (Luke 13:5)
Everyone was talking about the news. Pilate slaughtered some tourists from Jesus’ area while they were in the temple. It was gruesome and sudden. Their blood mixed with the blood of the passover lambs on the holy altar. Was it a sign of God’s judgement? No. Jesus says. But you better repent anyway.
Repent. Turn. Change. Bad things happen. Don’t try to figure out why. Let them remind you that life is short. You never know when your time is up. Live ready.
One of Jesus’ contemporaries used to say, “Repent the day before you die.” Good idea. But how do you know when you are going to die? You don’t. So repent every day. Live ready.
Time to Repent
Lent is a season of repentance. It starts with Ash Wednesday, a day of corporate fasting and repentance. We put ashes on our heads to remember that life is short and as a sign of repentance. Then we give things up and give money away to the poor.
The ceremonies are not the point. Repenting and changing is. It starts with each of us and it affects all of us. We repent for our sins and for the sins of everyone. The mess of our world isn’t fixed by pointing the finger at other people’s sins. It’s healed by confessing our own sins together and changing. We need this now more than ever. It starts with us. – TR
6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
9 Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
The New International Version, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Is 58:6–9.