The Rector Writes.... February 2020

There are few emotions more crippling than feeling guilty.

It can turn toxic and damage our relationships leaving us feeling restless and defensive (and thus prone to cause yet more harm, leading to more guilt, and so on in a downward spiral).

Many of us know something of its power.

Whether it is the words that we wish we could take back; the opportunities missed to spend time with someone; the hurt caused because we did not think of someone else’s perspective – it can haunt us.

We see that haunting in so many places in our culture: Whether Shakespeare’s Lady MacBeth unable to wash the memory of the blood off her hands or Justin Bieber asking, “Is it too late to say ‘sorry’?”

We wish there were some way to deal with it and be free – to exorcise the haunting; something better than repression (which never quite works – simply pretending that something is not there never makes it go away).

This is what Jesus says to us: ‘I have not come to call the virtuous but sinners to repentance’. (Luke 5:32)

‘Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.  (Isaiah 55.7)

‘Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; rend your hearts and not your clothing.  Return to the Lord, your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing.’  (Joel 2:12-13)

Lent, which starts this month is about God is inviting us to come home to Him, to find real forgiveness, to discover freedom.  What a wonderful offer!   Make the most of it and remember how the prodigal son was welcomed back by his father who loved him and threw a party to celebrate.