For most of my life, the word Repent! just reminded me of that cartoon: you know, the unkempt bearded guy holding the sign warning us to get ready for the impending end of the world. Later in life I learned that the word repent as used in that verse and throughout the New Testament is a poor translation of a Greek word, metanoia.
Luther argued that, contrary to the Roman church’s traditional teaching that metanoia means confession and penance. Repentance should be understood as ‘a change of mind.’ There is always something before which we stand wordless, explanation-less. It is mystery; the realization that there will always be a ‘just because’ limit to our ability to explain. Whether we approach age 3 or 73, the gift of metanoia means that we human beings also see something bigger than we can grasp, something that gives our lives meaning.
This message is excerpted from “A change of mind” by Ryan LaHurd in the October 2018 issue of Gather magazine.
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