Joel 2:12-14 (CEB)
Change your hearts
Blog on the move today courtesy of Costa wi-fi (other coffee shops are available!)
“Tear your hearts not your clothes.”
Sackloth and ashes and torn clothes – all accepted signs of repentance in ye olden Bible days.
I am not a keen clothes shopper and I don’t frequent the most fashionable outlets – but the high fashion emporia that I do frequent (ok – mainly Matalan!) have mens’ sections that are mainly made up of racks of hideously torn and crumpled jeans.
Torn clothes might now be trendy – but repentance certainly isn’t. From politicians we don’t get repentance or “I’m sorry” but rather, “I regret any hurt my words/actions might have caused.” But let’s not fool ourselves it’s not just politicians!
Repentance isn’t trendy. Maybe we are afraid that it is damaging to self-esteem – let’s just focus on the positive (cough!)appreciative enquiry! 😉
But on this Ash Wednesday I want to say that repentance is not weak or confidence-destroying. Rather it is a positive step of true self-understanding helping us to move back towards being the people we were made to be. Not the tearing of clothes – the cheap, outward symbol of repentance (giving up alcohol for Lent…) but the tearing of the heart… true repentance.
When we do that it does not weaken or destroy us because we meet the God who “is merciful and compassionate, very patient, full of faithful love, and ready to forgive!”