Fast-Food Repentance?

IN a fast-food world, with entertainment virtually on demand, there doesn't seem to be much time for profound changes of heart. Repentance, though not necessarily what we need to repent of, can almost seem like a thing of the past.Still, in a world more full of glorious colors and joyous sounds than ever before, who would want the dreary dullness of repentance as it is still so often portrayed? A torturous wrestle to appease a never-satisfied deity grimly looking down from a pretty unappealing heaven is an undesirable view of repentance indeed! But the world also has its grim sounds and drab colors. These cry out for the genuine repentance that rectifies our struggling lives. Isn't this healing and redeeming repentance the repentance that Christ Jesus actually proffered when he said, "Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand? That is, repentance is what enables us to enter the kingdom of heaven, the reign of all that is truly beautiful and harmonious. The kingdom of heaven involves real love, timeless truth, ever-flowing joy and affection. Repentance, in its true sense, involves giving up the limitations of materiality so that we can discover the qualities of spiritual being that are legitimately ours as sons and daughters of God. Fearing or avoiding the necessary repentance would bar our mental doors to the wonders that understanding man's true selfhood as reflection of his heavenly Parent brings to our lives. That isn't to any- body's taste! Even when we want the rewards of real repenting, however, it is sometimes hard to look forward to the struggle that is involved in the process of repenting. Fortunately, real repentance isn't an effort to please a grim deity looking down from an unattainable heaven! God is divine Love, and His heaven is ever present. But it is true that repentance takes prayerful confrontation with the false sense that man's selfhood is separate from his creator, God, to achieve practical progress toward redemption. We n eed to discover what God's man truly includes--meekness, joy, unselfish affection--and learn to live more and more in accord with that genuine spiritual individuality in order to reap the rewards of true repentance. Such prayer is a day-and-night job--at home, at work, at church, and everything in between. But that need not be discouraging. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, counsels in Miscellaneous Writings: "Be of good cheer; the warfare with one's self is grand; it gives one plenty of employment, and the divine Principle worketh with you,--and obedience crowns persistent effort with everlasting victory. There is no fast-food way of repenting more rapidly than before. It still takes a consecrated desire to love and serve God, Spirit, wholeheartedly. It still requires bringing every thought into captivity to Christ, the spiritual understanding that Jesus brought to light for us. Nevertheless now is the time to see more clearly that Christ's demand for repentance is also the beautiful promise that correction is possible as we willingly draw closer to God. Fast food and readily available entertainment can be fun. But let's also take time out to realize that maybe we are really craving, yearning, clamoring, in our hearts for things that can't be satisfied by human experience alone, for the things of the kingdom of heaven. We might be surprised to discover that what we really want is repentance!

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.