We kept hearing during the presidential campaign the mantra of change - not a small attraction for those who were fed up with the current state of things, and a common call to youthful idealism. And now we are getting a glimpse of what that change will be - all three branches of government controlled by the same party, an administration comprised largely of previous and liberal politicians, and an approach to ruling that has a definite socialist bent.
The change we really need, however, is of a different sort. It is not political per se, but it will affect one's views on politics. It is not financial, although it will put us in the right concerning money. And it is not ideological, but it will direct our thinking as to how things ought to be. The real change required to make our lives and our country better is one of the heart, and it is referred to in the Bible as repentance.
Repentance in the holy writ is really twofold. In one testament it means to change course, go a different direction, change your behavior. In the other, written in the Greek language, it denotes a change of mind, a change of thinking. And both meanings indicate moving away from one thing, and toward another.
"Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand," were among the first words of Jesus the Christ. Before him, the prophet John the Baptist was saying the same thing. And Jesus, upon sending out his first missionaries, instructed them to preach the exact message. All throughout the the Bible, and especially the New Testament, and right to the very end, this message is repeated, both to Christians and the Church, and to those outside the church.
It is a message we all need to hear once again.
The apostle Paul, speaking in Athens at the time, told his audience that God was now commanding all men to repent, because he had appointed a day on which they would be judged. The point being that, regardless of whether we agree or not, there is forthcoming a judgment, whereupon we all shall give account of ourselves to God. A good reason, I believe, to make sure our heads and our hearts are in the right place.
But it isn't just future judgment we should be concerned about - and this is what I am aiming at. It is our present situation that warrants our attention. Call it what you may, but the current financial crisis could well be a clarion call to us to make a drastic change - a change as to where we put our trust, whose drum beat we march to, and where our affections lie.
The change the Bible calls for is one in which we shun our reliance upon ourselves, our elected officials, and the almighty dollar, and direct it instead to the living God - the God who has told us in the Bible how we ought to live, and who says with longing in his heart, "repent or perish." It is a change were we leave our worthless idols of money, material goods, and false security, and turn instead to the One to Whom our forefathers went in times of trouble, and Who gave us all these things to begin with.
Indeed, unless we heed the call to go back to our roots - and I mean our Christian roots, I fear our going forward, that we shall have to learn our lesson the hard way. And it will be very, very hard.