Psalm:38
Old Testament: Isaiah 6:1-13
New Testament: 2 Thessolonians 1:1-12

Sts. Johicam and Anna–who no doubt rejoiced at the Immaculate Conception of their daughter Mary

Inspired by the comments from last night’s post, the morning readings today offer a perfect oppurtunity to talk about sin.  Sin is a pretty unpopular subject nowadays.  This hasn’t always been the case.  If you look at some of the medieval preaching of the Reformation, or the work of prominent theologians during the Great Awakening of North America, sin was an important concept for the Christian to grasp.

It is important to understand for several reasons.  In the first place, it gives us a raison d’etre (at least from the Biblical standpoint) of why bad things happen to good people.  According to many places in the Old Testament, personal misfortune is often–though not always–connected to one’s personal sins.  We suffer because we have willingly strayed from God’s path.

In the second place, the concept of Sin frames the whole mission and earthly life of Jesus.  He came into the world so that humanity might be redeemed from the power of sin and death…that we might have new life in Him.  To place us in a new relationship with God…in which the wrong-doing of our past is completely put away and forgotten.

Thirdly, understanding the concept of Sin points to an objective reality in the human condition.  We like to seek pleasure, and do as we wish…..even if it is at the expense of someone else.

The emphasis on evil and suffering is not to glorify sin, but to help the believer to realize his/her need to be saved from it.

This is not simply an academic point.  As our psalmist writes this morning, sin can have physical and emotional effects as well as spiritual ones:

There is no soundness in my flesh
because of your indignation;
there is no health in my bones
because of my sin.
For my iniquities have gone over my head;
they weigh like a burden too heavy for me.
My wounds grow foul and fester
because of my foolishness;
I am utterly bowed down and prostrate;
all day long I go around mourning.
For my loins are filled with burning,
and there is no soundness in my flesh.
I am utterly spent and crushed;
I groan because of the tumult of my heart. (Psalm 38:3-8)

When we are conscious of the wrong-doing we commit, there can be many sleepless nights and emotional turmoil. It can literally rip someone apart.

And yet…in the modern context, churchland shies away from the subject of sin. It is a scary topic, an ugly topic…as well it should be. But the reluctance to talk about Sin–or even to acknowledge its existence in a real way– has caused the Church to lose at least a part of its self-awareness.

In the quest to make more disciples and fill more pews…we emphasize “Jesus meek and mild”…the Jesus of peace and love…  we have forgotten to answer the question of why He is needed in our lives.

It’s not so that we can lead a good and moral life, and have a role model to follow……although that is part of the package deal. The reason we need Christ is so that we can be made whole, and the ugliness of our sin can be washed away. Without acknowledging the need for salvation, Jesus becomes no more than one of the many religious teachers we get to pick from in the marketplace of religious ideas. +

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