REPENT. This is from Worshipping With Children. Today’s candle is “Peace.”
I’m very glad to see you today.
We’re going to me a guy in our story about Jesus today who goes by the name John. And we call him John the Baptist. John the Baptist was, according to the gospel according to Luke, was Jesus’ cousin. John the Baptist was kind of a wild guy. He liked to dress like an outdoorsman who lived off the land, wearing camel hair clothes, and eating bugs for his lunch. He was hanging out in the country, in the wilderness, in the places where there were not cities or farms or villages. He was in a wild place – and he was there because he knew that God would meet him there.
While John was in the wilderness, God spoke to him and gave John the words he should use. And one of his favorite words is…this one Show the word It’s…Repent. Let’s say it together. Repent! This is a word that John uses again and again. Repent – Repent – Repent! Repent is a word we don’t usually use a lot. It’s one of those church words – words that we use in church but that we don’t always hear at school. But “Repent” is a word that we should all use. And what it means is…turn the page over…it means “sorry.” Being sorry is feeling bad that you did something wrong or your hurt someone. And being sorry is something we all have experienced.
But did you notice something different about these two words? They’re different sizes. Repent is big and sorry is small! Right! I wrote R E P E N T in very big letters and sorry in small because they’re different. When we’re sorry, we feel bad that we did something wrong. We might apologize, we might feel sick in our stomach, we might even get upset because we’re feeling so bad. Feeling sorry is a good, normal, and an important emotion we shouldn’t run away from.
But Repenting is different. Repenting – Repent – is doing something to make sure that we never do the thing that hurt someone again. Repenting is about changing our behavior so that we don’t create the circumstances or situations where we feel sorry like we did. So if we didn’t share a toy with our friend, we make sure to share the next time. When we say an unkind word about someone, maybe because of what they looked like or how they dressed, we ask why we did that – why we thought they looked different – and we change our thoughts so we don’t do that again. When we see someone who doesn’t have as much as us, who can’t enjoy the things we do, we don’t treat them differently or poorly because of that. Instead, we ask why they don’t have what we have, we step into their shoes, and then we change our behavior so they can experience the joy that God wants for them.
Now, repenting is a lot harder than just feeling sorry. John wasn’t interested in people feeling sorry about the bad things they were doing. He wanted them to change. And he knew, with God’s help, we can all admit what we do wrong, how we harm others, and we can ask God to help change us so that everyone can live the life God wants them to: a life full of love, a life full of helping each other, a life being kind, and a life of loving each other – and even strangers – as much as we love ourselves. And when we repent, with God’s help, we can create a world where everyone gets to live in peace.
So today, for the Advent wreath, we’re going to light two candles. The first one, if we remember, was about Hope. Today, it’s about peace. So let us pray: Advent Lighting Words – from “worshipping With Children:”
God, we know that we are not all you created us to be. You call us to repent, to make changes. So, we light the first candle knowing that you are with us in all the shadow of the world and we light this second candle promising to make the changes we need to make to be your people. Be with us, show us what to do, and give us the courage and energy we need to change
Thank you for being here! And I hope you have a blessed week!
Each week, I share a reflection for all children of God. The written manuscript serves as a springboard for what I do. This is from Christ Lutheran Church’s Worship on the Second Sunday of Advent, 12/9/2018.