Advent 3 C

Those things you do when you feel sorry for what you’ve done, who are they for?

Luke 3:7-18

Bear fruits worthy of repentance. Do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our ancestor’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham.
— Luke 3:9

Verse 8 is cited in Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article 12: Repentance (AP 12.122), as one of the texts used in the Confutation of the Augsburg Confession supporting the idea that contrition included acts intended to placate God for sin. Melanchthon, of course, calls this a misreading of the text, noting that such acts of contrition are part of church discipline, intended to reincorporate people into the community of faith, not to placate God.


In the United States, we’re very quick to turn to rectifying the relationship between the individual and God, often ignoring the individual’s relationship with the community—be that family and friends, a neighborhood, or even the whole country. Just as God does not need our good works, but our neighbor in need does, so too God does not need our acts of contrition, but those against whom we have sinned do.