November 29, 2018
The November WELCA study in the Gather magazine called “Turn, turn, turn: A time for faithful repentance” by Meghan Johnston Aelabouni includes these two thoughtful paragraphs I felt a need to share and to ponder deeper:
The words of Ecclesiastes [3:1-15] (and the 1965 song by the Byrds) remind us, “To everything (turn, turn, turn) there is a season…and a time for every purpose under heaven.” Life is rich, fragile, complex, limited, heartbreaking and beautiful, and all the seasons and situations of our lives do keep turning. We need a faith that fits the realities of the ever-turning world and human existence. We don’t need a God who gives us the grace our repentance earns, but who freely gives us the grace we need to repent in the first place and turn back to God. We need Jesus, who entered into the holy mess of human life to redirect it into God’s reign of love, justice, mercy and peace.
This God is the one to whom people have turned (and turned, and turned) in every generation, the one to whom we can always humbly and boldly repent and return. This God is “gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love” (Joel 2:13). This God is the heartbeat of the body of Christ in whom we all find a place. This God is the one who creates in us a clean heart and a renewed spirit. And this God is the risen Christ who holds our past, present and future together in the promise that all our turns will always, in the end, lead us to grace.