Repenting is one of those church words that makes for great movie dialogue like "You must repent or suffer the consequences!!" than a common word that we use in our everyday vocabulary. It might even seem to make less sense, when I tell you that January 13, 2019 is the Sunday, we celebrate the baptism of Jesus. What does Water and Repentance have anything to do with each other and more importantly what does it have to do with me?
Repentance is about admitting our mistakes and then making the best possible actions to fix our mistakes, ask forgiveness, and not to make that mistake again. Repentance is about going in the opposite direction than where you were going. It is like if you stoled something, you give back the item and then help other people not to make the same mistake you did. I know for many of us, talking like this causes us to break out in a sweat, our pulse quickens, and our stomachs get upset. Admitting our faults is hard to do, especially in our culture today, where it seems like everybody is ready to pounce on you if you have one toe out of line. It takes a lot of courage to admit when we are wrong. It takes a lot of courage to do the right thing. So how do we do this?
This is where that water comes in. Baptism is a sacrament which is a fancy way of saying that we see God's presence come into the world through the physical element of water. Baptism is a time where we are covered in water which represents the part of ourselves that rebels against God and what is right and we break the water as a new creation. Our baptism reminds us that we are not perfect yet God still claims us by name. God promises to be with us in spite of our mistakes and because of God's love we are given the courage to admit our mistakes and make amends. God loves us even when we make mistakes. God never gives up on us. So during this new year what would it look like to admit your mistakes? Pretty scary stuff right? Remember that God is with you in the midst of your mistakes and also in the midst of you "saying your sorry" and through it all God loves you!