Today’s Author: Paul Sponheim

“ . . .now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will have the world judged in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” (Acts 17:30b-31

The God who responds to knowing our lives from within is not a cuddly grandparent. Paul toughens his talk and must speak of repentance. “Repentance”:—a turning around in the direction of our life’s choices. Why do you suppose we begin our worship service each week with a confession of sins? We’ve got old patterns and new wrongs to confess. The norm for the judgment is “the man whom he has appointed” We know his name— Jesus. What in my life is consistent with the mission of Jesus? What is not? The beatitudes would be a good place to start. Is there any mercy in me? Does peace-making find a place? For what do I hunger and thirst? The call to repentance is a call to action. But we are not alone in that venture. The God who calls us is a God in whom we live, and move and have our being. 

If I manage to speak and live in a Jesus consistent way what should I expect for our results-oriented culture? We have a message to bring, a message calling, like our entry door does, for the reader to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly. What should I expect? Paul points the way: some will scoff, some will say “we will hear from you again about this (the resurrection). There’s hope in that but we need to keep talking together. Some will come to faith and experience their own repentance. It is not strange that the response is so varied. After all, the call to discipleship is a call rooted in the strangeness, the newness, of the resurrection. To some, it will seem like a foreign divinity talking (v. 18). You may get a reputation in some circles as a babbler” (v. 18) But the ever-present, right-here God will be acting through and in you. 

The early Christian movement was called “The Way”. As you walk the way of Jesus, may you know the strengthening work of the Spirit, the one whom Jesus promised to send. You will find the rhythm, the balance of talking some, listening a lot, and accepting the range of results. There is a new day ahead. Blessings from the One in whom you live move and have your being.

Mid-week devotions are authored by members of our community.  If you are interested in creating a trio of reflections to be shared on an upcoming Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, contact Pastor Peter.