Real Earnest

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20 November 2018

We are hurtling towards Advent, that beautiful season which prepares us for the coming of the incarnate Word of God. Advent, like Lent, is a time for preparation and conversion of heart. Inspired by today’s readings, let’s get some repenting in early.

In the mysterious Book of Revelations, the risen Jesus says:

I am the one who reproves and disciplines all those he loves: so repent in real earnest. Look, I am standing at the door, knocking. If one of you hears me calling and opens the door, I will come in to share his meal, side by side with him. 

I have always loved this image. Jesus knocking on the door of our lives. When artists depict this scene, they often paint the door without an external door handle. The handle is on the inside! We have to choose ourselves whether we open the door and invite Jesus to come and share our meal side by side with us – a Hebraic image for opening the whole of our life to the guest who stands knocking.

This is what repenting ‘in real earnest’ looks like: inviting Jesus to walk right in to our mess. The Zacchaeus story illustrates it perfectly. Jesus walks up to a short guy hiding up a tree and invites himself to dinner. The Word of God Himself was knocking and the tax collector found the grace to open the door and invite Him in. Zacchaeus was a mess, alright. He was about ripping off his own countrymen as an agent of the hated Roman occupiers. Just the sort of disaster Jesus is attracted to, because ‘the Son of Man has come to seek out and save what was lost.’

Whatever your mess looks like, Jesus stands at the door knocking. Invite Him in today.

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