An x-ray of a rooster skeleton, side view, has a tiny red heart in the middle of the chest cavity. The eye is blue and the red rooster comb is outside of the x-ray against a green background.

Repentance and Refreshment

I sure appreciate readers of “There’s a Blog in My Eye,” because you regularly  have enough faith to read my blog even though you haven’t a clue what the topic will be. Thank-you. Here’s a secret: a few days before Friday’s deadline, I must muster a little faith too. Many Mondays I’m blog topic clueless and have to ask myself, “What is hitting the eye, over and over again?” This past week the whammies came—about five in a row on the out-of-fashion topic of REPENTANCE. Please read on, because the flip side of repentance is REFRESHMENT. Who doesn’t like that?

The Problem

Dr. Mateen Elass, head and shoulder short of middle aged man, round face, cropped, thick hair, and green eyes, smiling with mouth closed.
Dr. Mateen Elass

I was at a spiritual retreat last Saturday with a wise theologian, Mateen Elass. He spoke on what it means to be created in God’s image. Dr. Elass had a q. and a., and I popped out the question, “Where does repentance fit into the creation and redemption story? I mean, how do I incorporate repentance in my life as well as in my community? It’s difficult, because we live in a culture where that word ‘repentance’ seems almost obsolete.”

Dr. Elass quoted Jesus’s words in Mark 9:29: “This kind does not come out without prayer and fasting.” I was teary-eyed. He was succinct and right.

Distraught man kneels in mud and asks for forgiveness from those around him.
Repentance and forgiveness in the 1986 movie The Mission.

A Child’s Story

Children's book cover shows a cartoonish white rooster leaning against a tree next to a red barn in the mountains with evergreen trees in background. Rumor Rooster by Jessica Johnson are printed on cover. Rumor wears brown cowboy boots.
Both this art and the above one of Rumor Rooster’s skeleton are use with permission from Jessica Johnson.

Following the retreat I drove to Golden, Colorado, for the Rocky Mountain Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators’ annual conference. Among highlights, I had dinner with writer/artist Jessica Johnson. Jessica gave me her cute children’s book: Rumor Rooster. Rumor lives up to his name, spreading lies about the barnyard kitty. Then, Rumor doesn’t feel well, and Wise Woodpecker nails the problem: “Maybe you opened your mouth just a little too much, Rumor! What hurts is not your nose, not your toes, not your bones, but your heart.”

Rumor Rooster is a great little parable about confessing wrong,  turning away from it, and making right. Although Jessica doesn’t use the word repentance, the story was a neon light for me.

Pastor Tim’s Message

Arriving home from the writer’s conference late Sunday my husband told me I missed a great message at church.

“What was Pastor Tim’s topic?” I asked.

“Repentance,” my BFF said.

Hmmmm.

Monday, I listened to Dr. Timothy McConnell’s message online.

Dr. Timothy McConnell has a friendly, open smile at camera. He has black hair parted on side, dark eyes, is caucasian. He wears a dark blue jacket and light blue open button shirt. Blurry green folliage is behind him.
Dr. Timothy McConnell

In a nutshell, he, with Apostle Peter, teaches that repentance brings refreshment. Tim advises the first step is to be truthful with Jesus. Then, leave behind what trips you up. Repentance means turning around in the other direction. Tim said:

“Jesus doesn’t need perfect; he needs penitent; he doesn’t need powerful; he needs prayerful….Peter learned Jesus doesn’t need force; he needs faith.”

Pastor Tim pointed out that Peter knew the agitated Jerusalem crowd he preached to on Pentecost could experience what he had received. Fearlessly, Peter told them:

“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord…” (Acts 3:19, NIV).

Time for a Little Refreshment

There have been other neon signs this week about repentance, but I thought you might find value in the ones mentioned. Have you ever thought that personal repentance can lead to refreshment? I had never put those two words together, but they fit.

As Pastors Mateen and Tim advised, I will do some penitent prayer and fasting. Perhaps you will commit to doing so too–to the best of your ability. Then, together, we will experience times of refreshing, and that will be very good.

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Jessica Johnson’s website: www.jessicapublishing.com

Dr. Mateen Elass’s website:   https://mateenelass.wordpress.com/about/

Click and then scroll to the minute number 44 for Dr. Timothy McConnell’s September 18, 2016, sermon: http://www.first-pres.org/index.cfm/PageID/1123/index.html

Finally, enjoy two songs about repentance and refreshment: “Clean” from Natalie Grant at:

 https://youtu.be/ulf4PXuNV3w

And, “How Can It Be” from Lauren Daigle:

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CSB

Writer and editor, desiring to entertain and enlighten, focusing on the good, beautiful and true in the present and the past.

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