For several years I’ve been using Clairefontaine for my journals.  ClairefontaineThis one is ready to stow in my box, joining its comrades.

I browsed.  The beginning of the year 2012.

Eberhard Bethge describes Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s use of metanoia, repentance.  Any real encounter with Christ is one in which Christ takes us by the shoulder and turns us around.  To face our fellow human beings and the world.  metanoia wards us away from religion’s dangers of inwardness, privilege.

There is a poem by George MacDonald about the reluctant urban missioner called by Jesus to a noxious city.  Reluctant, yet repentant.

Do you suppose there was any reluctance on the part of NYC firemen, paramedics, policemen entering the WTC on the morning of September 11?  Was there a moment when a veteran placed a hand on the shoulder of a rookie, to guide up the stairs?fireman in stairway 2

Bethge writes of Bonhoeffer, refusing invitations to remain safe in America, in England, to escape from prison.

The missio Dei, God’s mission, shared by God’s people, is aptly described in the Gospel of John.  God gives his Son.  God sends his Son.  And the reluctant Son turns to the world, travels on the road, to the cross.

Mission to the people of this world so-loved of God calls reluctant missioners to repent.  To heed the unseen, unfelt hand of Christ taking us by the shoulder and turning us around and into noxious places, up many flights of stairs.  Into George MacDonald’s city.  Into disturbing urban scenarios.

We may not bring much along with us.  But, there we are.  Isn’t that the point?

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