The Need to Repent
Church membership is not a license to sin. Just because we attend church every week doesn’t mean we’re free from sin or the need to confess our sins and receive forgiveness. The people in Jeremiah’s day thought they were safe from God’s judgment because they attended Temple every week. They put their faith in the Temple and forgot about God.
God wants a relationship with us, not just our bodies in the pews. We attend Sunday school and worship to learn more about who God is and who we are as God’s people—so we can grow in relationship with God.
When we attend worship without remembering we’re there to relate with God, the church rites and rituals become lifeless and boring. We will continue to attend church out of habit but look elsewhere for happiness, fulfillment and meaning for our lives. Jeremiah’s message for the people was “You’ve forgotten who you are and why you’re here. You’ve forgotten where life comes from. Turn back before you die completely.” We have a need to repent as individuals as well as the church. To repent literally means to “turn around,” to change direction. Someone once said that to repent is “to change the direction in which you look for happiness.” The only true happiness we will ever find comes from God. Until we confess that to God and to each other, we continue to need to repent.
—Rev. Marty Aden
- How can we be stewards, caretakers, of repentance?
- How does proclaiming God’s word lead to repentance?
- What does it mean for a people to repent (corporate repentance)?
- Where does society say we can find happiness and fulfillment? Why do these places not work?
How Do I Act?
- Write an individual prayer of confession.
- Take notes during the worship service of all the rites and rituals observed. If there are any you don’t understand ask your minister to explain them. You might also offer these notes to be shared in some way with the pastors’ class when it meets again.
- Make a list of things that make you happy. Out to the side of each, make a note of how these things ultimately come from God. Pray a prayer of thanksgiving for these blessings of happiness that you have received.
- Do several living tableaus with words found in this blog such as repentance, happiness, meaning, fulfillment, forgiveness, and sin. A living tableau is a live picture frozen in time. People in the living tableau look like they have been caught in the act of doing something but are frozen in time for the moment. Have fun with this.