An extract from the Dean's sermon on the First Sunday of Lent, 18 February 2018.
The concept at the heart of repentance is turning.
We mostly have heard about this as people tell us to turn away from sin, turn away from temptation, and to turn away from evil.
But it may be better to think of this word as an invitation to turn towards God, to turn towards love, to turn towards life.
These alternatives invite us to think about our central understanding of ourselves, and of life. Do we mostly think about ourselves as sinners who need to turn away from evil, or as beloved children who can choose to embrace life and turn towards God?
To put in another way, does “repent” make us feel bad about ourselves or good about ourselves? Does this word put us down, or set us free?
I hope you will hear Jesus speaking about repentance as an invitation to become more truly who we already are, and to turn consciously and intentionally towards love, to embrace love, and to claim our true human dignity as beloved children of God.
The full text of this sermon is available online.