Repentance is a world rarely heard outside of a Christian or other religious gatherings and so it is no wonder Australian journalists have matched it with terms like ‘puzzling’, ‘scratching their heads’ and ‘bolt from the blue’ when reporting Papua New Guinea’s first Day of Repentance held today.
True, the public holiday for Repentance Day was announced in PNG with little fanfare or explanation and this has baffled reporters and some (mainly ex-pat) business owners.
But there is no doubt the very large majority of Christians in PNG know exactly what it’s about and many will have participated in prayer events held across PNG today.
Even the small Muslim sector of PNG society was in favour, with their leader’s only caution being that people should not think repentance is for only one day of the year.
One PNG blogger was pleased with the introduction of repentance day and discusses why it could be so useful on the basis that repentance means a change of mind. Nothing new can be done unless there is first a change in our thinking… good advice for any nation.
It’s interesting to consider that increasingly secular Australia is surrounded by many strongly religious nations. PNG, East Timor, Indonesia and many of the Pacific nations have strongly religious orientations.
An overflow of this has been seen in the prayers, songs of praise and statements of faith that have mixed with the outpouring of grief outside the home where 11 Tongan family members were killed by a fire earlier this week.
Our prayers are with them.