Friday Contemplation: REPENT. We are in Lent. Wednesday we smudged ashes on our head to remember that everyone is going to die. In a word, Lent is fundamentally about repentance. Lent invites us to turn away from things that separate us from relationship with God, with others, and ourselves/who we are called to be. Said another way, we turn from sin, acknowledge our shortcomings/the ways we fall short, and turn back toward the Giver of all life through spiritual practices. We participate in restoration.
The Greek word for repent is “metanoeō.” It means to change your mind. Reflect upon a time when you changed your mind about something significant… I suspect you experienced some kind of pain or dissonance. While repentance is indeed individual, it at times is also communal.
I experienced this dissonance as I sensed a call to participate in efforts around racial reconciliation. I clearly heard from God but was initially resistant. Partially because of my own past. Partially because I was a white male, and didn’t think I had much to offer. As I began to learn more about segregation, racial terror, and lynchings right here in Hillsborough County, I was uncomfortable.
In January of 2020 our spiritual community made a pledge to answer the call issued by Bryan Stevenson and the Equal Justice Initiative in his documentary, True Justice to own and acknowledge the history of racial terror in our country and our cities.
I leave tomorrow to Montgomery, Alabama for a pilgrimage with 40 others to the Equal Justice Initiative. City Councilman Viera, my friend Robert Blount (Abe Brown Ministries), and members of our Justice Team will be going. The purpose of this “March Fourth” pilgrimage to Montgomery is to visit EJI’s National Legacy Museum. We are delivering the soil of Robert Johnson to the National Memorial for Peace and Justice. He was brutally murdered along the Hillsborough River in 1934. To learn about the Robert Johnson’s story, click here and ABC News story.
The 12 steps of different recovery programs assert that three key principles required for heart/life transformation. (1) Honesty. (2) Open-mindedness. (3) Willingness. I believe that it applies both individually and communally.
Let’s get honest, open our minds, and be willing to change. It won’t be easy, but transformation never is.
You are Loved.