A weekly Rector’s Notes article, March 11, 2019

This is the first article discussing the themes for our Lenten series based on The Way of Love

Through our baptism we go through an experience of death in order to be brought back again into a new life. We become dead to sin and are made alive again in Christ. This new life we access in our baptism welcomes us into a family, a tradition, and grants us access to the greatest of God’s gifts to creation: grace  and forgiveness.

We sin. This shouldn’t be a surprise at this point. We all sin in our lives. There are “little” sins and “big” sins, but ultimately they are all sins no matter how we try to couch them in terms of acceptability. But, even though we sin, we still have access to God’s grace and forgiveness, in fact we always have access to this grace and forgiveness no matter how far away we may feel. No matter the distance we place between ourselves and God. No matter how “bad” we feel our sins are. No matter how sure we are that God could not possibly love me, forgive me, for all of the things I have done and left undone. All it takes for us to be embraced by God, to be filled with God’s grace and peace through forgiveness, is to simply turn.

We have to constantly and consistently remember to turn back to God. Our sins, our doubt, the forces of evil at work in this world, all conspire to keep us focused on the faults that we have, focused on the gap we perceive between ourselves and God. And yet, all it takes is one simple act to turn around, to turn away from, to turn towards.

When we seek repentance, repentance for our sins, repentance for turning away from the life that has been granted to us in our baptism, we turn back towards Christ, back towards God. When we ask for repentance, turning away from the spiritual forces of evil and sin, we are amazed that God is waiting right there for us, that the love of Christ is able to envelop us in peace, because it is right there for us, because God is waiting right there with us, patiently awaiting our turn.

It can be shocking to us to turn and be immediately released of those sins, of that evil, and be forgiven. We cannot believe that it is all it takes. But it is all that it takes. It is so simple and yet so hard because it can become so unfathomable. But, that is what we are called to do. In our baptism we are fully embraced by God, we are unified through Christ to our creator. It is our own actions that put distance between us and God. It is our own actions that cause us to forget that God is unified with. That is why we seek repentance, to remind ourselves that God is right there with us, that God always forgives, that God’s grace is always ours if we turn to it.

As we enter into this season of Lent, what will you be turning from in order to turn towards Christ, to turn back to God?

How will you live into your baptismal covenant that tasks us with always turning back to God?

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