Here is a bit more enlightenment.
Forgive us, Father, for we have sinned
We also hear calls for repentance for the greed and pride and follies that have led us into current crises and quandaries. Here is more on national myopia, to the point as the season of Lent approaches. It’s a call by Kathleen O’Connor of Columbia Seminary in Decatur, Georgia for “repentance in first-person plural.” A good idea, since so much Lenten or other repentance-talk tends to isolate the individual. “Too often Lenten traditions reduce repentance to tiny shafts of personal failures, narrow it to fractures of the individual, to concern with foibles of each alone. Give up chocolate, eat less, or do something positive. Pray more faithfully, become more attentive to other people, be considerate of an irritating coworker. Too often Christian repentance remains focused on me, my improvement, and my personal relationship with God.
“Of course . . . any practice of repentance that awakens our spirits, increases prayer, and opens us up to God is good for the whole world. But even when observed with faithful motives and humble attitudes, such focus on the individual alone is myopic. It leaves our blind spots in place, accentuates our insularity, and ignores our national sins. I think we Christians in the United States suffer from spiritual myopia, from a near-sighted view of God’s world. We find it hard to see our lives in relation to life on the planet. What happens when Christians focus on the repentance of the individual is that our collective sin never appears before our eyes for repentance. Our national violence, preemptive warfare, assault on the environment, our social bias, creed, exclusion of the poor and the different, our arrogance
toward other peoples, our overarching consumerism—these things remain invisible, out of sight, out of mind. When we repent of the sins that disturb our peace within the narrow walls of our cocoons, we remain unmoved by how the way we live harm’s God’s other peoples and God’s good earth. Maybe our arrogant insularity is our most pervasive collective sin.
“What would repentance look like if Christians in the United States began to think of ourselves as called to compassionate engagement with all of God’s people? Biblical repentance is not only the work of the first-person singular—of ‘I,’ ‘me,’ mine’; it is a call to all of us together. Biblical repentance asks for turning around in the first-person plural—of ‘we,’ ‘us,’ ‘our.’
“The prophet Amos calls for repentance in the first-person plural. His concerns are international, his vision is global. He hears the word of God with the force of a lion’s roar (3:8). That roaring voice blasts warnings upon all the people who do not live in the first-person plural, who do not recognize that the lives of others are sacred. . . . Amos tries to show his people that trust in anything or anyone other than God is false security. His calls for repentance do not use language of trust, but profound trust in God is implied. Our security rests not in our wealth, power, or armaments; it does not arise from bullying others into our service or doing our bidding; it does not come from amassing goods in our barns while others starve. True security lies in trust in the God who calls us together for right worship and for service in the world.
“Lenten repentance may not bring us to clarity about what to do; it may not even grant us a common interpretation of our sinful common life. But as long as we remain blind and insular, safe in our fortress world, focused on me alone, we cannot claim to be faithful worshippers of God. . . . Repentance in the plural can reinvigorate our identity as disciples of Jesus Christ, the Body of Christ in the world.”
—Journal for Preachers, Lent 2008