|St Mark the Evangelist (1424)|
The interconnection is crucial. Modern Christians widely, easily, and for the most part correctly, proclaim the unconditional love of God. God does not love the things he has made because of their merit, but because they are his. Still, sin is a reality. It is easy to see that human pride, cruelty and self-centredness erect barriers between human beings. But they erect no less a barrier between humanity and divinity. The central message of the Gospel – as of many religions – is that despite appearances, this barrier is surmountable. We have not shut ourselves off from God for ever.
|John the Baptist -- Ivanov|
Peter’s Epistle expresses just this thought when it declares that God’s love is shown by his patience, ‘not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance’, while Mark's Gospel in a similar spirit offers ‘a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins’. Repentance, however, also brings into play a deeper dimension. It is key to lifting us beyond the level of material beings created and nurtured out of love – which is what plants and other animals are. It draws us up into the realm of beings who have the potential to participate in divine life.