“Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.’”
— From Mark 1:14-20
For some, the word repent may sound a bit scary. It may feel like a big move, a need to catalogue a long list of transgressions to present in a formal way to be fully repentant. But the gift of the word repent is that it simply means to turn. In this easy passage in Mark, we are invited to turn toward something that is being fulfilled in our presence. The kingdom of God has come near, make sure you are watching and turning toward it.
When we make that a spiritual practice, we start believing in new ways. It does matter what we turn toward. There are many horrible and sad things that we may fixate on, but to grow in our faith and belief, we can choose to turn toward good news and signs of the kingdom. It is not an invitation to be naïve about the hard things, and I think it is inevitable our eyes are drawn to those places. Faith demands we not pretend those places don’t exist, but we are called to see them and act to make them better. And faith also demands we practice hope, and hope sometimes requires an intentional commitment of turning toward the good that is within our world as well.
The kingdom of God has come near. It is not fully realized, but our turning toward and noticing the good and that which is grounded in love sustains our ability to believe in the good news.
Much of the work we are imagining from our Renewal Works team and the vestry retreat is a simple commitment to naming the fact that we are on a spiritual journey. A journey that asks us to grow in love toward ourselves, God, and one another. That may seem simple, but amidst the demands of our life it can be easy to lose focus. We turn toward the tyranny of the immediate and miss the deeper invitation to turn toward love.
What simple practices help us become better followers of Jesus? I suspect one of them is practicing gratitude even in hard places. Where is the kingdom of God showing up in my daily life? Am I willing to turn toward that? To linger on it? I suspect when we turn toward gratitude our ability to see the kingdom of God expands.
Turn. God is inviting you to notice all the places where love already is manifest.
Peace, Beth +