“Regrets, I’ve had a few, but then again too few to mention.” So sings the Chairman of the Board and I don’t for a second buy it! The happiest and most blessed among us have regrets. I know I do. This is something I have in common with all the people I meet every day in Waterloo Village or the South End. It is common ground on which we can begin to converse.
Regret is a heavy thing. Its weight bends us double. Folks I meet are carrying a heavy heavy burden of regret. Carrying it is painful and in order to find relief they often turn to various means of self-medicating. This in turn inevitably leads to more regret and they become stuck in a cycle of regret and sorrow. Like Bunyan’s pilgrim folks are burdened with an ever weightier load.
I don’t really have to convince anyone of this burden of regret. That is a conversation for the suburbs not the inner-city. Railing at people to convince them of their sin is not something I feel a need to do. What people need to know is that there is an answer to this vicious cycle of regret.
This is the power of Week 2 of our 30 Day challenge “Finding Your way Back to God”. The Lost Son full of regret opens himself to the possibility that returning to the father could bring a fresh start. Our Week 2 Prayer is, “God if you are real make yourself real to me. Awaken in me the possibility that with you I could start over again.” With this prayer we are inviting our friends to begin to take those first tentative steps back to the Father. In our video Jon Ferguson explains two words used for repentance: the Greek word metanoia which speaks of a change of mind or heart and the Hebrew teshuva which means to return home. This Hebrew meaning draws us not just to a change of mind but a return and restoration.
This possibility is attractive to my friends. We are experiencing the universal identification with this Lost Son. We all start off with the notion that there is ‘more’ for us and we all desire it and try in our own way to fulfill it. Augustine is right when he asserts that our hearts are restless until they find their rest in God. We in our restlessness stumble on not knowing that it is God we need and we are met with regret!
This week we added a few people to our number and there were a few who couldn’t make it this week. We had 23 folks. I am very pleased. The numbers aren’t as important as that folks are very attentive. The message is brief and full of impact. Folks easily relate to the stories of the people on the video. We are relying on God answering prayers. This week several folks shared how God was “making himself real” to them. These were powerful!
On another note, next Thursday I will be teaching again. I have been invited to teach at a “Perspectives” course at Crandall University on the topic “Incarnational Mission” I have been putting together my notes. I didn’t realize how much I miss this kind of exercise. I don’t do much of this kind of thing anymore. Who knows maybe there will be more opportunities in the future? I always enjoy being around young people who are enthusiastic for ‘Kingdom Mission’.