Last week the parentheses of life were justice and righteousness. This week they have morphed into repentance and forgiveness.
Whichever way your language preference goes, the communal or the personal, we are reminded to ground them both in the very specific realities of this moment in time.
In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea and Herod was ruler of Galilee and his brother Philip ruler of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias ruler of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas . . .
In the sixth year of the reign of President W. ... the high priesthood of James Dobson and Joel Osteen ..., etc. (you fill in the rest) there is still a need for the proclaiming of repentance/justice and forgiveness/righteousness.
There are plenty of crooked paths than still need straightening (repentance). Too many poor valleys still need filling (forgiveness) and accumulated mountains needing lowering (repentance). Crooks with guns and fountain pens still need to go straight (forgiveness) while rough violence calls for soothing smoothing (repentance). All life is intended to find wholeness (forgiveness).
Even closer to home - In the sixty fourth year of this center of the universe, etc. wrestling with matters of repentance and forgiveness are still in order. I'm still working toward these lines from Yeats' A Dialogue of Self and Soul:
"I am content to follow to its source
Every event in action or in thought;
Measure the lot; forgive myself the lot!
When such as I cast out remorse
So great a sweetness flows into the breast
We must laugh and we must sing,
We are blest by everything,
Everything we look upon is blest."
= = = = = = =
a region around the Jordan needs a proclamation
pro-repentance means more than being a pro at it
pro-forgiveness means more than leaning in that direction
would we would learn preemptive repentance
breaking the cycle
would we would practice preemptive forgiveness
healing the cycle
what blessing there yet awaits
we can yet learn
we can yet practice