In Valladolid, Spain stands a beautifully sculpted monument. On the monument is a Latin phrase, “NON PLUS ULTRA”, which was Spain’s motto for centuries. Being a sea-faring people, the Spaniards believed they had reached the edges of world, discovering all there was to explore, so they touted the motto “NON PLUS ULTRA”, which translated means “No More Beyond”. Spain’s academics and royals believed that they were the last kingdom of the west before heading in to the great Atlantic ocean. What’s most intriguing about the monument is a bronze lion destroying the first section of that Latin phrase “NON”, leaving the “PLUS ULTRA”. In 1506, it was in this same town that Christopher Columbus died. The monument was built to commemorate his life as one of the earliest explorers of the New World. This renown adventurer had proven that there was, in fact, “More Beyond”, and the rest of the world had to learn to embrace this new reality too.
In recent weeks we’ve been exploring forgiveness and it’s significance in our parish. This week we’re exploring a word we’ve no doubt heard and have some familiarity with, repentance. Both of these words are related. You might even say they are two sides of the ‘Renewal’ coin. It’s the coin that God flips when He wants to bring new life to His Creation – beginning with His people. The LORD says in Isaiah:
“Remember not the former things,
nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.”
– Isaiah 43:18-19, ESV
When God is about to do something new, or bring renewal (refreshment) to our souls, He first reveals His Word and sends His Spirit to convict and call us to repent (to turn to Him). When you hear the word repentance what connotation does it have with you (not definition)? What does it bring to mind? Try to describe it for us.
There is a promise built into God’s call to repent. Tell me what you think of when you hear prophet? What kind of messages did they bring the people God sent them to? They often told what God was about to do (the future), but they often also told people to repent, to change their minds / their ways. God’s promise built into repentance is clear. Listen:
“And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your
rulers. But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his
Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled. Repent therefore, and turn back, that
your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the
presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you,
Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things
about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago.”
– Acts 3:17-21, ESV
End Part One
Part Two will be live in a week.