Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

Those eighteen who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them—do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others living in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did.
—Luke 13.4-5

At some level we believe that there is such a thing as “deserving,” that somehow God or the universe keeps score of our past choices and then later rewards or punishes us for them. This is not true. Neither good fortune nor bad is a sign of anything but luck. (Workers are exploited… cheaters win… saints get cancer… good things happen to bad people and vice versa.) But our poor little egos, running on our logical right brains, can’t get this, since they see everything in terms of predictability, formulas, cause and effect. So they just pretend that it’s true anyway. And we live our lives chasing and being chased by guilt and worthiness. We live false lives, and the person we really are perishes.

Jesus invites us to jump off that not-so-merry-go-round that goes nowhere. “Repent,” he says. To repent doesn’t mean to jump back on the reward-and-punishment merry-go-round only on a more righteous horse. It means to go a new way. It means to “turn,” to head in a different direction, and as we do, we “turn,” we change.

To repent means to turn away from the illusion of rewards and punishment, and return to the present moment, to return to God, who is only in the present moment. God is not in the past, or attached to the past. God is here, now. To repent is to join God in the present moment.

Certainly, we turn from evil and selfish ways. But not in order to get a better grade. We do it because God is pure compassion, and as we turn to God we are turned into God’s reflection.

Return. Receive your life, your living, your breath, from God. Let this moment be a divine gift. Be present to the Holy in this moment. Then regardless of your luck, you will be with God.

Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

Copyright © Steve Garnaas-Holmes

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