“We repent of the evil that enslaves us, the evil we have done, and the evil done on our behalf.” (Episcopal Liturgy)
“There is so much evil done on our behalf [as Americans.] … A racist criminal justice and penal system. War, drones and torture. Systemic poverty, the absence of worker protections or living wage laws, the constriction of unions. Oppression of the poor, immigrants, people of color. Globalized capitalism and sweatshop labor. The abuse and exploitation of the environment for financial gain and our financial ease. Racial injustice. Environmental injustice.” David Henson
“… it is the work of Christians in the world to minister in word and deed and to gather together to do justice. … A life poured out in doing justice for the poor, is the inevitable sign of any real, true gospel faith.” Tim Keller
“Contemplation, at its highest intensity, becomes a reservoir of spiritual vitality that pours itself out in the most telling social action.” Thomas Merton
“Seek justice, reprove the ruthless,
defend the orphan, plead for the widow.”
Moving From Head to Heart
- One church tradition may emphasize the need for repentance for “the evil we have done” and another for “the evil done on our behalf.” Which is your tradition? If you listen, can you hear God speaking in both traditions? What is lost by listening to only one or the other of these traditions?
- Does your tradition have a place for the words of the prophet Isaiah? How does your church (or church tradition) “seek justice?” How does it “reprove the ruthless?”
- Do you agree that, as Christians, we should repent for “the evil done on our behalf?” Is that even possible? If so, what would it look like? What would be the point? Would it be unpatriotic?
- As you practice repentance today for Ash Wednesday, can you let you heart be moved by the call to both of these kinds of repentance?
Abba, help me to live a life of constant repentance, full of purity, love and justice.
For More: Generous Justice by Tim Keller
The “Daily Riches” from RicherByFar are for your encouragement as you seek after God, and as he seeks after you. My goal is to give you something of uncommon value each day in less than 400 words. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others. I appreciate your interest! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)