After yesterday’s post, one of my friends, Bill from Saint James’ in Potomac, MD noted that it ended just as abruptly as Mark’s Gospel does. He thought that maybe there was fodder for another post in my very last sentance, “The good news of God has not beginning and it has not end, but it does have a place where we are able to enter in.” I’ve spent a good deal of time since I read Bill’s comment thinking about that entry point. As I said yesterday, I think they happen, most often, in the seemingly Godforsaken places. But it isn’t the abjectness of the situation itself that allows us to enter into the good news.
Instead, it is what the awfulness does to us. It is in those moments that, to paraphrase the Rev. Dr. Charles Price, “our disappointments and failures lead us to acknowledge our dependance upon God alone” (BCP, 836). Or as Eugene Peterson translated one of the beatitudes, “Your blessed when you are at the end of your rope. When there is less of you, there is more of God and his rule” (Mt 5.3, MSG). Those moments aren’t just for the individual, however, but for families, congregations, and even cultures.
In those moments, we each have a decision to make. Will we continue down the path we have chosen and walk further and further away from the dream of God and deeper into sin, or will we repent, literally change our minds, our hearts, and our direction, and make a God forsaken place an opportunity to enter into the Kingdom of God? I’m thankful to my colleague and riend, Evan Garner, who in a blog post this morning, invited us to remember that repentance is just step one on the journey into the good news of Jesus.
The God forsaken moments give us pause. They invite us to change. They allow us an entry point into the Good News of Jesus. And then. And then, as forgiven, restored, committed disciples of Jesus, the bearer and bringer of the good news, we set about the work of the Kingdom. Once we repent and enter into the good news, there are exceptions as to how we’ll live and move and have or being as individuals and as a community of the faithful: doing justice, loving righteousness, and walking humbly with our God (Micah 6.8). It all starts with repentance, the call of the prophets throughout the generations, but repentance is only the first step of God’s work in the lives of his faithful people, people of the good news.