Saturday, December 25, 2010

Repentance at Christmas

  • On the phone this week I had a great conversation with Walt Sundberg, professor of church history at Luther Seminary.  One of the things we talked about what the importance of repentance, especially in connection with Baptism and Communion.
  • That evening our family went to see a movie based on C.S. Lewis' book Voyage of the Dawn Treader.  There's a story of transformation in the book (not depicted so well in the movie)--a boy named Eustance allows "Aslan" (=Jesus) to deal with his sin and he comes out clean and new.  
  • Yesterday evening, at Christmas Eve worship, Jerry Seehusen reminded us of the importance of self-examination as we prepared for communion.  
  • Then this evening (1) I read an article by Michael Bradley in the Master's Institute newsletter that talked about the cleansing power of God and (2) someone contacted me how to confront someone they were hurt by.  
It seems as though repentance is a theme that is coming up over and over again.

Here's what Mike Bradley wrote, as he recalled what Lee Grady shared at the Midwest Gathering for the Alliance of Renewal Churches about how our lives can be like the "gunk" that lies hidden behind a refrigerator that's been in its place for many years.
"Have you ever moved after many years and, in the process, pulled your refrigerator out?  When you did, were you shocked when you saw all that gunk back there?  I have, and yes, there was a lot of gunk... Our lives can be like [that]...

"There can be old emotional pus wounds that are influencing our present.  There can be old defense mechanisms that may have helped us survive but now need to be released.  There may be patterns of acting and reacting, strongholds that we run to when life gets stressful.  There may be unhelpful beliefs and lies we have rationalized and justified.  Whatever it is we need God's transforming power to clean it out..."
As we meditate on the newborn Jesus, God who came among us in such a vulnerable way, let us all likewise be willing to let the Lord deal with us as His own child.  Allow self-examination or even the criticisms of others do God's revealing work, humbling you and forcing you to look at some truth about yourself that you don't want to see. 

It will be okay.  Even on Christmas.  When we come to Jesus with our brokenness and sin, there is no harm in repenting.  When we come to a Christian brother or sister and seek reconciliation and forgiveness, it will be good. 

Every time, Jesus will give you new life.

No comments:

Post a Comment