Dear Cathedral Family,
This year’s Daily Office reading for January 7, the day after the Epiphany and the day after the siege on our nation’s Capitol, included a passage from the second chapter of the Revelation to John. These lines from that reading, addressed to the church at Ephesus, stood out to me that morning and have remained with me since: “you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember then from what you have fallen; repent and do the works you did at first.”
These words spoke to me in a deeply personal way, but in reflection over time, I am beginning to see how they speak to us communally, as a nation, and how they voice the abiding call of God to God’s people—repent and return.
The call to repentance figures prominently in our readings for this Sunday. Jonah got a second chance to fulfill the mission God gave him. After first refusing the call to go to Ninevah and urge them to repent and return to God, Jonah spent some reflection time in the belly of the whale. Then he went to Ninevah and did as God told him to do; the people believed him, repented and returned, and were spared. In Mark’s gospel we read about the beginning of Jesus’ ministry of proclaiming the Good News. Here is the program he announced: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”
We all fall away, fall off, fall short in doing the things love calls us to do. In the press of living, in the changing of circumstances, we can lose our focus on “the love we had at first” as we get on with “getting things done.” Is there some element of love in your life that has been abandoned? Are there actions or connections that once made you feel alive and whole but from which “you have fallen”?
Jesus calls each one of us, as he did his first disciples, to follow him completely—body, mind, and spirit—and immediately. So, now is the time! Believe that wholeness is possible for us all, and act on that belief.
May you know God’s peace,