At the Gate: Re-Framing

Sitting at the gate, we have the opportunity to see things differently and use the new sight to grow inwardly and outwardly. The biblical word for this is repentance, looking at life in a larger perspective (metanoia). But it is a word that often comes in the form of a question that requires our response, “Are you willing to look at life in a new way?” Sitting at the gate we have moments to say “Yes,” and we face temptations to say “No.”

It is possible to look at the life and ministry of Jesus as an invitation to repent–to look at life and faith in a new way. He picked up right where John left off, saying “Repent.” And there was a reason for doing so, “the kingdom of God is at hand” (Mark 1:15).

It always is. Every moment is a moment when God is doing a new thing (Isaiah 43:19), but the moment, Isaiah said, comes with the question, “don’t you recognize it?” Repentance always comes with this question.

Set in the context of Jesus’ life and ministry, repentance is evolution. He called it having eyes that see (Mark 8:18). The old is not trashed, it’s transcended. Paul says it “passes away” so that the new can come–new creation, God’s new thing, the reign of God (2 Corinthians 5:17).

We understand this scientifically. Life evolves. All life. Jesus calls us to recognize it spiritually. Indeed, as Bill Mc Nary puts it, “Our life’s purpose is to recognize the evolutionary journey and live our lives so we advance humankind along the evolutionary path. Life is a very short opportunity to expand God’s love.” [1]

Ah, there it is! Re-framing, repenting, looking at life in a new way is the opportunity to expand God’s love.

Yes, oh yes! God’s new thing, the new creation–the ever-expanding way of love. Do we recognize it?

[1] Bill McNary, ‘Our Future, The Evolutionary Journey to the Image and Likeness of God.‘ (page not cited).

About Steve Harper

Dr. Steve Harper is retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 45 books. He is also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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