The man stood quietly on the side of the road with a sign, “need help.” His clothes are dirty. His hair long and uncombed. He holds the sign in one hand and a cigarette in another. His face has not been shaved for some time and his smile shows a mouth of yellow teeth.
I see the man and then reflect on my initial feelings and assumption I have made. How did this man get to this point? What events and choices lead to his standing here begging? What is the gardener doing to try to have this living being produce the fruit for what he was created to produce?
There have been destructive storms in the middle part of our country. Hard working people have lost everything. Are they more sinful than the people who live in high rise apartments and make millions of dollars buy and trading predictions on how much profit a company will make?
As one wakes up, if one wakes up, to the reality that there is potential, actual, and eventual certain of death, suffering, grief, loss and tragedy that surrounds us perhaps we will realize the importance of the simple/complex paradox of the word repent. Because there is accountability and responsibility there is grace. Because there is unpredicability and chaos, there is hope. because there is a timeframe with expectations there is the advocacy of love.
Oh, Lord my God, help me in my ignorance and stubborness to understand, embrace, and never ever let go of your call for me to repent.