I had a really great idea for the #repentance word of the day for our OSA Advent Calendar. I was going to take a picture of myself looking in the mirror, looking really tired and blue, hopefully with a bit of existential angst (ok—hopefully with a lot of existential angst, like James Dean at 45 with a sudden glimpse of what could have happened when he was driving too fast). Unfortunately, I could never get the camera angle right, or the shots ended up looking creepy. So, no #repentance photo from me. I think we all dodged a bullet.
And that’s why we do it—we repent out of love. Or rather, God loves us into repentance. And when we pass through our angst and suffering, we discover what lies on the other side. It’s joy. The joy of God’s love and forgiveness.
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I say, Rejoice.” That’s Paul writing to his friends in Philippi, which we hear this week. “Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving make your requests known to God.”
Whether you are repenting or forgiving, rejoice. Rejoice because God is near, and God has loved you to this moment, and God will love you through to joy.