John went into all the region around the Jordan,
proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins …
Luke 3:3 NRSV
Perhaps the chimes are as persistent as John the Baptist, singing to us to turn around, change direction, find and go toward the music. What do you hear?
In our ‘Spiritual Day Hike’ at St. Margaret’s (Palm Desert) yesterday we talked about repentance, among other things. It turns out we, who have participated in many a Bible study and have sat through many a sermon, are good students and seekers. More importantly, each of us could report continuing efforts, even daily efforts, to re-turn to the Lord.
Our wide ranging musings and reports accord well with the succinct description in the Oxford Companion to the Bible:
Repentance: Sincere contrition, involving acknowledgment of wrongdoing in the sense of both admitting guilt and feeling guilty […] remorse must be accompanied by resolve to cease doing wrong and do what is right […] In biblical idiom, the sinner is called on to “circumcise the heart” (Deut. 30.6; Jer. 4.4), “wash the heart” (Jer. 4.14), or become “single‐hearted” (Jer. 32.39); to make a new heart (Ezek. 18.31), a heart of flesh, not stone (Ezek. 36.26)
Such feelings and behaviors, we agreed, are developed one day at a time, one experience at a time. It was encouraging to me (and I believe each of us ‘on the hike’) to hear of triumph and failure and resolve to do better each day. ~dan
It is part of our Baptismal Covenant
Will you persevere in resisting evil, and, whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord? — “I will with God’s help.”
A promise we make to God and to each other in our Baptismal Covenant.
Links to online Advent Calendars
Each of these has a different approach. Find one that helps you “prepare the way.” Find one that helps you focus on God as you make your way into the loving arms of God.
“Black Friday” began the “Shopping Season” and retailers are relentless in keeping us focused on buying often and buying more. “#GivingTuesday” (11/27/12) was an invitation to give and use our “buying power” in a way that benefits others for more than just a day.
I intend to keep that invitation in front of us throughout the “Shopping Season.” I believe that It is always the right time to be generous. If you haven’t participated in “#GivingTuesday” how about today? ~dan
Today’s give-a-gift-to-help-others idea:
- Foundation Cristosal — “We are a faith-based organization of Anglican roots dedicated to human rights and community development work in El Salvador. We partner with people and organizations from diverse philosophical, religious, and political backgrounds to accompany the Salvadoran people in the construction of a just society.” (Home Page Welcome and Introduction)
- A personal testimony from Ms. Alexandra Howard a member of St. Paul’s Cathedral in San Diego.
Looking for other give-a-gift-to-help-others ideas?
Go first to Charity Navigator for those ideas
and for an evaluation of how your dollars will be spent
Image: Foundation Cristosal