The Unlikeliest People in the Unlikeliest Places (Mark 1:1-8)
But there are other sins that also require repentance, a seeking of forgiveness—sins that are bigger than any individual, more systemic, and therefore harder to address—sins that too many people take for granted as “just the way things are.” Racism is a sin like that. Heterosexism is that kind of sin. Xenophobia and Islamophobia can be institutional sins. And as we’ve seen with sexual harassment and abuse, though such sins are usually committed by an individual, it takes a whole culture that winks at it for it to continue to exist.
And in order to address those kinds of sins, we’re going to need more than just individual repentance and forgiveness—we’re going to need a kind of collective repentance that seeks the forgiveness of all those we’ve allowed to be hurt because we refused to say no to the system that allowed those injustices to endure. It’s going to take a new world, a new reign on earth—it’s going to require someone capable of lifting up every valley, of making every mountain low—someone capable of baptizing with the Holy Spirit.