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Eric's Sunday Sermon; No Need For Sin Part 2
Some folks hear "go and sin no more".
We are married to the fact of our own sin. We have come to use the word sin to mean the slightest of wrongs. Is that correct or should we really be thinking about changing the word or accepting a broader interpretation? Definition? Do we all do wrong? And is every wrong a sin? And have you really sinned in the last 4 months?
I love the check lines of life. Social interaction into personal space so close as to touch. And the bargained for exchange of money for goods. Dynamic. We know for a full on fact that more than 50% of all grocery store tabulations are wrong. Closer to 70. So, I do not pay any attention to it except in a very rare occasion of like half off the produce I bought. But I know there are errors made most of the time. Forget about an error in my favor. Do I sin if I do not catch an error that would be in the store’s favor? Do you want to call that a sin? Do you need to confess and repent on such failure? If you want to think about killing things. Microorganisms to ants and flies. Should you repent because you used anti-bacterial tooth paste?
I hope we are getting to a point here. Did you know that there are four words in Greek for love. AGAPE, PHILEO, EROS, and STERGO. And those lead to about 33 variations when combined with modifiers Aramaic, Hebrew and Latin – then of course English. “A rather simple brotherly love”. “A deep and highly spiritual brotherly love”. But here is what that brings us to. About ten core words for sin and combined about 33 variations found in the Bible. So I am quite certain that you could go down the road to thinking flatulence in the car with grandma is a sin. Or maybe worse – she commits the sin.
We belittle love sometimes like in the use of “I love you bro”. Sure that can be real but far too often it is the same as this new phrase “no problems” which is used by people doing their job and just assuming your customer issue is a problem. See where we are going? We do not want you to walk into the back of a church and start with “forgive me father for I have sinned”. Sorry but that is way too cliché and cheapens confession.
What does it mean to be sav(ed)? Some folks have been. Sin is not required to continue
Can a man or woman be cured of sin?
Is it right to take God's time to pardon a thought?
The consoling cop sits across from the wife who just lost her husband by murder. “I understand how you are feeling”. Really? You just bust out with, “I have the hots for my neighbor’s husband” and call it sin? And you do this when children in Syria are getting gassed? You do it when women are being stoned to death? You do it when a cop gets shot to death in Detroit? You have the unmitigated gall to elevate what you do on Park Avenue and the check counter to a sin? You know full well you should have given more to the charity and now confess that as a sin? I do not think you get to cheapen sin like that.
Well maybe with all that you are right. Sins have a size of severity? I understand that the most used term for sin in both the old and new testaments is “missing the mark”. I am sorry but that is completely absurd in today’s parlance. The economy tanks and dad of 3 loses his job and loses his home? Well quite clearly he missed the mark. Failure is a sin?
The celeb checks into a rehab. Now it is vogue. Rehab has them recount their sins against others and make amends. How bitchin cool is that? It has elevated itself to being cool to have sins. And now we have this left over Christian notion that having a sin is great because then you can confess and repent and gain gold stars. No! This has gone too far. Mary is a great parishioner. She is a super duper good person. She does nothing but good. And yet she claims on Sunday morning to ask for forgiveness of sins? Obviously the 7 year old boy is the same. Something does not jive here with being children of God. Yes everyone sins but they do not sin every month or year. If I asked my friends here to lay out their last week’s sins I would have forty others giggling. To get to the point of demanding that we are active sinners is in fact to “miss the mark”.
Every Christian doubts. Am I to tell a 14 year old that to doubt is to sin? Nope. Am I to tell an 18 year old that arousal by women is a sin? Nope.
How great thou art - you!
Can the sun set on our life of sin?
The Sin of Imperfection is not a sin at all. Sin is an act that distances us from God. I think everyone can agree on that. But we have a problem here. My son errors and asks for my help and God’s help. Did the error not just bring him closer to God? So it is not a sin – right?
I tell you, every week on the drive to a physical Sunday Sermon my son challenges me. I have come to recognize that it is not spontaneous. For about a year my son has premeditated that which he will address in our Sunday go-to-church time. Today was “sacrifice”. “Dad what does sacrifice mean?” Palm Sunday. Son and friends at true sacrifice is of our self for another. If I sacrifice for you in order for you to get things right then you owe me to accept that we made things right. Christ did not take a nose dive into holy hell in this world so that I can self flagellate over how bad I am. Of course we are not perfect but we must stop telling ourselves that our imperfection is sin. Wrong!! God made us this way. If it is a sin to be human then Christ sinned. Christ was made man. Are you human? If you say that merely to be human you must sin then you miss the mark. I am just going to put it out there for you. I have some friends; Lori, Linda, Nadine, Judy, Bill, Mel and David and they do not sin. Sorry if that really bothers you but it is true.
Accept that you are not a sinner any more. Tough but true.
You see I just cannot see imperfection as a sin. I mean, who decides perfection? Only God could make that call. And God made us. So do we get to decide what is perfect for us for God? Are even big mistakes ours or the plan of God, and if we carry out the will of God in “missing the mark” are we perfect? Perfection just cannot be the test.
But we have this required notion that Jesus died for us for our sins that through acceptance of Jesus as our savior we are given grace. This is a grand idea. But does it require us to continue to sin so we can repent? Nope. We jump in with John the Baptizer and it is over. Sure we can choose to sin again but so many do not. Once baptized, even on this earth we can choose to sin no more. Even if you choose to say we are all sinners and “I am a sinner”, does that mean you reject the Baptism? Does your insistence that you continue to sin ruin your partaking of the Eucharist?
You there, you became a sinner and you saw the error of your ways and witnessed your distance from God by act or omission and turned around and confessed and you do not steal anymore. Sorry to tell you but this happened while you are still human, like John demanded. Jesus said “go and sin no more”. They were cured of sin while living. When Paul was turned Paul from Saul did he continue to sin? Nope. (maybe that thorn in his side) We do not know.
Does it make you feel less Christian to not be a sinner?
Just a closing thought as we have another sermon on this that we will get to before our loving day of Easter. Happy Palm Sunday. My boy got all excited about the "miracle" of the donkey. And I got all excited as he laid down his palm during our procession into the church. Tradition is awesome and so good for us to remember.