I learned a deeper meaning of repentance this week. In a nutshell it means “returning to the image of God – oneness, unity.”
I also learned that 60+ per cent of the universe is made up of dark energy. At least, that’s the answer I would select on a multiple choice quiz after watching the documentary movie “Through the Wormhole.” With all that science has discovered in forty years, I’d have to go back to college if I ever wanted to teach freshman science again.
Dark energy isn’t “evil” energy. It’s an unknown (hence ‘dark’) force that tends to pull things apart. It’s another way of expressing the law of entropy – that things have a tendency to fall apart. It’s why the universe is expanding at an increasing rate. I’m guessing that’s why energy is required to hold things together here on earth.
Maybe it’s also why we have to work at holding things together in the world on the personal, the community, national, and international levels.
I thought I understood the meaning of repent from the Greek word metanoia. It means more than to be sorry. It means “to change your mind, or to turn around.” In order to be “sorry,” you do have to change your mind or your thinking.
Being sorry is the mental result of changing your mind. But it’s not the only result if you truly repent the way John the Baptist and Jesus meant it.
The new understanding I have of repentance comes from hearing how the original Aramaic word is interpreted: return, come again, flow back, ebb. The Semitic root TB suggests something that returns in a circle or spiral to its origins or its original rhythm. The meaning of the word assigned to God in Aramaic is Alaha and this means “Oneness, Unity, Harmony.”
I’ve also read a short book that comes out of the Essene community that says there was one law prior to all the laws given by Moses. That law was none other than – unity.
To repent is to return to oneness, to unity. Return to the image of God in which we all were created – a time when all things were working together in perfect harmony – the way it started in the Garden of Eden.
Unity needs to come at all levels – body, mind, soul, and then community.
Since dark energy is a natural force pulling things apart, then light or love is a more powerful energy that brings things together. God is love and Jesus is the light that shows the goodness of God. Unity within us and among us comes with love and light. Without the energy of light or love, everything falls apart.
Please don’t mistake my message as saying, “Everyone needs Jesus.” Jesus never intended us to cram him down anyone’s throat. People whose lives were falling apart were attracted to him. He didn’t force himself on anyone and we shouldn’t either.
You can offer a person a prescription for high blood pressure, but you can’t make them take it.
Jesus is the incredible metaphor that helps us interpret God’s will for the world – unity, harmony, oneness. Following him has helped me learn more and work harder at returning to the image of God. He has helped me pull myself and my life together.
The Reformation was an attempt to bring love back into the picture. Among all the other things Martin Luther said, “Love is to be the interpreter of law.”
That’s why the church must keeping repenting—continually re-forming itself to regain the image of God. You and I must hold a daily attitude of repentance by inserting the energy of love into the world around us. Loving our Creator God. Loving ourselves. Loving our enemies. Loving each other.
This may be why Jesus said we should remove the log from our own eye. Work on yourself before worrying about the disharmony in someone else’s life. You can’t love someone else until you love yourself. Repent. Return to oneness within and then help others find peace, hope, and love in their lives. How will you do that?
Only love can return us to unity, oneness, harmony. That will be the day of true repentance when we have returned to the image of God.