REPENTANCE - A CHANGE OF MIND

Paisley Daily Express - - Church News -

To­mor­row is Re­mem­brance Sun­day and the cen­te­nary of Armistice Day 1918.

I started th­ese three lit­tle es­says on war with a quo­ta­tion from Wil­fred Owen. I con­clude by again re­fer­ring to this great war poet.“I, too, saw God through mud/ The mud that cracked on cheeks when wretches smiled”(Owen, ‘Apolo­gia pro Poe­mate Meo’)

To­mor­row we will re­mem­ber, and try des­per­ately to imag­ine in some mi­nus­cule way, what it was like. But we fail and only seek to share with the fallen what Wil­fred Owen called“The eter­nal rec­i­proc­ity of tears”(Owen, ‘Insen­si­bil­ity’).

We seek to share their tears and suf­fer­ing and through what we do to be wor­thy of their loss.

But Owen’s eter­nal shar­ing of tears in­volves God. God through his Son Je­sus Christ shares our hu­man­ity and feels our suf­fer­ing.

For God the Fa­ther every bat­tle field is a re­turn to Cal­vary and in the dy­ing of every sol­dier the Fa­ther sees the cru­ci­fix­ion of his Son.

Repentance means a change of mind. Chris­tian the­ol­ogy has nar­rowed its mean­ing to re­gret for and a turn­ing away from sins.

But the Greek word is‘metanoia’ and refers to a change of mind and at­ti­tude, and con­se­quently a change of be­hav­iour.

A few decades ago with the thaw­ing of the Cold War a Rus­sian film ap­peared, de­scrib­ing this changed Rus­sia. It was called ‘Repentance’. This same chal­leng­ing call for a change of mind was sounded by the in­ter­gov­ern­men­tal con­fer­ence on cli­mate change. The global pop­u­la­tion must change its at­ti­tude and be­hav­iour be­fore cli­mate change runs out of con­trol.

It is now ac­cepted that the year 1914 ir­re­vo­ca­bly changed the world. To­mor­row we com­mem­o­rate Re­mem­brance Day and the cen­te­nary of Armistice. Tonight the British Le­gion Fes­ti­val of Re­mem­brance will have added poignancy for many fam­i­lies.

What is the only fit­ting re­mem­brance and trib­ute to the fallen of 104 years of global con­flict? Repentance, a global change of mind, is the only fit­ting trib­ute to the fallen of global con­flicts.

For that mat­ter repentance as a uni­ver­sal change of mind is the only so­lu­tion to the hor­rific suf­fer­ing in to­day’s world.

But the fu­ture sal­va­tion of the hu­man race will only be achieved when the hu­man fam­ily re­turns to God, to the God of hu­man­ity.

The God of hu­man­ity is above all man-made puny pow­ers of pol­i­tics, profit and greed God of hu­man­ity is un­hin­dered by man-made pow­ers, and is ab­so­lutely jus­ti­fied in judg­ing mankind ac­cord to its deeds.

This rev­e­la­tion of the ab­so­lute God is clearly demon­strated in Isa­iah 40. Isa­iah 40-55 is called Sec­ond Isa­iah and reaches the high­est water mark of He­brew thought.

It was cre­ated in the tur­moil of Is­rael’s cap­tiv­ity in Baby­lon, when Is­rael was a mere pup­pet state and a pawn in the fu­ri­ous con­flicts among the su­per pow­ers.

Then from this bro­ken Is­raelite na­tion the voice of the prophet de­clared the power and glory of God.

“To whom will you liken God, or what like­ness com­pare to him?” (Isa­iah 40.12).

“Is the eter­nal God like one of your idols?”, the prophet mocks (Isa­iah 40.19-20).

Then twice the prophet taunts the na­tions:“Have you not known, have you not seen?”(Isa­iah 40. 21 & 28).

The prophet shouts:“Has it not dawned on your blinded minds that the Lord God is above all your pow­ers and au­thor­i­ties.”

The real and au­then­tic God is the God of men, women and chil­dren. He de­sires their whole­some destiny, God has shown you the way to live un­der God and with one an­other. God will re­ward your good­ness and con­demn your evil against oth­ers.

For God Him­self has is­sued a clear clar­ion call to the hu­man race.“God had shown you, O, man what is right and what the Lord re­quires of you but to do jus­tice, love kind­ness and walk humbly with your God”(Micah 6.8).

Only when the global pop­u­la­tion lives in this way will the non-po­lit­i­cal white poppy of peace and the red poppy of sac­ri­fice be wo­ven to­gether. Not into a wreath for the dead, but a bou­quet for the liv­ing.

Not into a me­lan­choly me­mo­rial for the bloody past but a res­o­lute wel­come for the fu­ture and for our chil­dren.

“O house of Ja­cob, let us walk in the light of the Lord”(Isa­iah 2.5).

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