Sometimes mourning and lament are the appropriate response. As I write this review, we are in the season of Lent, a time of spiritual reflection, fasting, and contrition. Lent is a call to repentance among God’s people. At no point in my lifetime has the church of America so desperately needed the observance of Lent. I am persuaded that the path to revival in our churches is one of contrition and repentance. Sadly, too many of us feel we have nothing to repent of, and that is exactly why revival isn’t happening. We are in denial.
In the days prior to Lent I received a new book by Amy Peterson. Within hours I was texting quotes. Where Goodness Still Grows- Reclaiming Virtue in an Age of Hypocrisy is a lament for our callous disregard of truth and kindness, our complicity in political and social sin, and our failure to love our neighbor as Christ taught us. But the Gospel is good news and there is hope for us. We can repent. The people of God can turn away from sin and embrace virtue once again. We can show kindness to the stranger instead of cruelty. We can love our enemies instead of destroying them. We can extend hospitality to non-Christians rather than hostility, joyfully proclaiming a message of hope and peace instead of waging war against those with whom we disagree. We can champion truth rather than applaud mendacious leaders within and outside the church. The path to genuine revival is before us, but it is a path of contrition, repentance, and making amends for the wrongs we have done in God’s name – and there are many. Our sins have been great, our repentance should be greater still.
I’m quite sure Amy Peterson does not think of herself as a prophet. As she explored, however, the virtues of kindness, hospitality, hope, and love, I discerned an element of grief in her writing that reminded me of the ancient Hebrew prophets. When God calls out his people for their sins, hope and mercy are embedded within the words of judgment. The choice is before us. We can continue to destroy our witness by exhibiting to the world our failure to love our neighbor as ourselves, or we can repent and ask both God and the world to forgive us. When we relearn to love both God and our neighbor, joyous revival will come. Until then, it is time to mourn.
–Darrel Holcombe, Owner
Sanctuary Christian Books and Gifts
Colonial Promenade, Alabaster Call 205-663-2370 or click here to order Where Goodness Still Grows. Curbside pick-up available.