Monday, April 11, 2011

True renewal

“After the plague of hail, Pharaoh summons Moses and admits, 'I have sinned,' that is, 'the LORD is the righteous one, and I and my people are the wicked ones' ([Exodus] 9:27). Pharaoh declares his willingness to let the people go (9:28), even though Moses denies that Pharaoh and his court fear Yahweh (9:30). Clearly, the genuineness of Pharaoh's confession is explicitly questioned in the narrative itself. Here, we see an admission of culpability by Pharaoh, suggesting a rhythm that is key to the restoration of relationship with an offended party, but discover that this is not equated with true renewal.”—A Severe Mercy, page 36

<idle musing>
Confession of sin is not the same thing as repentance, is it? Yet, we seem to equate the two in our culture. Confession of sin is admitting that you were wrong; repentance, at least in the Hebrew, is a turning away (שוב) (shub). No turning, no real repentance. And, that says something about the rote repetition of ritual, too, doesn't it?

I remember as a kid reciting the confession of sin before communion. It starts out by saying “the sins we have so grievously committed” and I always thought, “No way! I enjoyed committing them!” But, I still thought there was something magical about the communion wafer and grape juice (we were good tee-totaling Methodists)...
</idle musing>

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