The Power to Turn Around

The Rt. Rev. Craig Loya

The Power to Turn Around

Beloved in Christ, 

Melissa and I have just finished a week-long pilgrimage to the Diocese of Aberdeen and Orkney in Scotland. You can read more about our time here in this story from Episcopal News Service. Last Thursday, we walked a ten-mile section of the Way of Saint Magnus, an eleventh century saint who was murdered by his brother Hakon, a rival Earl of Orkney. 

Each stage of the way is dedicated to a different spiritual theme. The section we walked is dedicated to repentance. Much later in life, Hakon was racked with guilt over what he had done to his cousin. He became a Christian and made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, turning his life around from his earlier sins. 

Walking that way, thinking about Hakon’s grief, regret, guilt, and amendment of life, I was reminded again of one of the central truths of we encounter in Jesus: no one is ever so lost they can’t be found, no situation is so broken it cannot be healed, and nothing is so dead that God can’t restore to new and renewed life. 

Not many of us have martyred a rival medieval earl, but all of us live with our fair share of mistakes, regrets, and things we wish we could do over. The repentance we are called to daily is not about feeling shame, it’s about remembering and knowing God’s inexhaustible mercy and love, which always give us the power to turn around, and begin again. I hope you’ll take a few minutes this day to turn whatever grief and regret you are carrying into your own small pilgrimage deeper into the heart of God’s love, and that together, we might offer that love and mercy wherever we walk. 

Grace and peace,

The Right Reverend Craig Loya
X Bishop
Episcopal Church in Minnesota