Repentance and Responsibility
The purpose of Jesus birth is not to make everybody happy. In this passage a man, living in the place where refugees flee, in the clothing of the poor and sitting outside of the mainstream of the religious community dares to remind us that the good news is a comfort to some and an anathema to others. Despite the assault on the radical edge of the gospel that has reduced the season of anticipation for Jesus birth to carols and pageantry this passage calls us to see the radical, serious and powerful nature of Jesus presence and purpose among us.
Repentance here is not just an individual act. Repentance is based on the single supposition that you could have done otherwise. The cries of the people did not and should not have gone unheeded. You and I could have done something. In the pride of being religious we have become ensnared in the trap of conceit. Like the Pharisees we have blithely declared that God is in control. In this passage God refuses to accept being the excuse for indifference and inactivity.
Jesus comes to bring the conviction of the truth and the hope of possibility that it matters what human beings do and how we act towards one another. This is the season to repent for what we could have done and resolve to do what must be done.
Floyd Thompkins is the Director of the Center for Innovation in Ministry.