February 18, 2018
Gen 9:8-17, Ps 25:1-10, 1Peter 3:18-22, 1:9-15
"The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near;
repent, and believe in the good news.”
Mark tells us up front that the time is now but we are not ready. We are asked to repent and believe in the good news. To repent is more than saying, “I am sorry.” The Greek word for “repent”—
means “turn around.”
An old common prayer tells us to say: “We have left undone what ought to be done and done what ought not to have done and there is no health in us.” Those old ones knew how to get down to brass tacks—but we need more. Mark has Jesus telling us to repent, meaning turn around and away, and believe the good news.
Years ago I took some clinical training to learn pastoral counseling. In those Freudian days you went snooping around in a person’s past—or you led persons to take a look back there and find the root of all their problems. Later I was taught not to snoop, just listen. Lately I have discovered that we had it all wrong. We were looking for the sickness in a person when we should have been looking for the health, the resilience, the connection to God. As children of God, every person has within them good stuff, yet in their habitual thinking they hear only the bad stuff and think it’s true. Why not begin with the good stuff?
Just to hear that someone has not given up on you—that you are believed in, much like the father in the parable of the lost son, watching the road back home every day, knowing that the boy will wake up—can trigger the thought that maybe you aren’t hopeless. In the space of that thought, new thinking—new life—can arise! Now that’s good news!