Turn, Repent & Follow

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

This Sunday's gospel lesson presents a real challenge (Luke 13:1-9). Here is how I describe the challenge. The contemporary North American church has succeeded in sentimentalizing Jesus to the point where we have taken the romantic “gentle Jesus, meek and mild “ of the 19th century , and reworked him into Jesus our good friend, our buddy, our therapist who always affirms and never criticizes. And yet Sunday's gospel presents us with an unsettling, judgmental Jesus.

At the end of chapter 12 of Luke’s gospel, Jesus clearly says he has come to “cast fire on the earth.” He warns people to read the signs of the time that predict judgment. He asks if the people think that those who suffer are “worse sinners than others”? Jesus answers his own question by saying ,” No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did (Luke 13:3)”.

Jesus does not say what we each need to do specifically to “repent,” to turn, to change. Maybe he doesn’t say specifically because that’s the question between each of us and God. Perhaps the answer for each of us is different.

And so we are reminded that Jesus not only did some tough things, and suffered some tough things, but he also said some tough things. In Luke 13:1-9 he says those tough things to each of us this day.

Let us confess our sin—all those things that keep us from wholeheartedly following the way of Christ---and then let us ask him to help us turn, to repent, and to follow.

See you on Sunday.

Still in one peace,

David J. Jensen

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