Transfiguration Sunday, Year A
Second Sunday in Lent, Year A

First Sunday in Lent, Year A

So let's start with a simplified definition.
Sin = things you think or do (or don't do) that take you further away from being in relationship with God. 
Maybe you agree with this definition...maybe you don't. Either way, this is the definition we are working with as we write.
We all sin.
We are 100% certain we do. We are fairly certain you do. 
Sometimes we intentionally do it. Sometimes we accidentally do it. Sometimes we actively go out looking to choose against God. Sometimes we close our eyes and try to ignore things and end up choosing against God by not choosing.  
It would be easy to be completely intimidated by sin and feel we are totally hemmed in and will never be able to do anything without sinning. 
But there is good news. We are never forced to sin.

That is worth repeating.

We are never forced to sin.

Sure, it comes naturally to us all. Many of us are quite good at it. But we are never forced to sin.

We always have a choice.

You might be thinking, "Laura and Matt, do you have any examples of this?"

We are glad you asked. This week's lectionary readings are all about people making choices that take them closer toward and further away from God.

In these passages from Genesis we see the classic concept of sin develop. We see God hanging a 'Do not eat' sign on the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and then we see a talking serpent convincing Eve and then her husband to eating from the forbidden tree. Then 'their eyes were opened, and they knew they were naked.'" Now it is important to note that nowhere here is the word Sin used....neither is the title Satan. Instead, God sets a boundary, the humans transgress that boundary, this transgression breaks trust between God and the humans, and the humans begin moving further away from God. 

Bummer.

The writer of Psalm 32 obviously knew this passage from Genesis. Look at the opening line: "Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven." Ain't that the truth. Once we can recognize and admit that when given the choice we are transgressors....when given the choice, we often choose to move further away from God, it is deeply true that the happy people are the ones whose transgressions are forgiven.

In the passage from the gospel of Matthew, we see Jesus facing the choice of staying where he was (we assume that since he was God he was quite close to God) or choosing to put his faith in something else and moving away from God. Jesus was in the wilderness and the Tempter offered him bread and power and safety in exchange for choosing to move further away from God. Jesus, being 100% God in addition to 100% human, chooses to not choose against God.

And in the passage from Paul's letter to the followers of Jesus in Rome, we find what we often find with Paul: he spends a lot of time intellectualizing the situation and trying to systematize what it means to be a being who is prone to turning his back on God and how the insertion of Jesus impacts that system. He is explaining to these new believers the importance of Jesus and the forgiveness that he personified.  He's creating a contrast between the fall of one man (Adam) and the ascension of another (Jesus).

So...Sin.

Choices moving us further from God who created us.

We always have a choice.  And when we make a bad choice, we have the choice of turning back and restoring the relationship with God.

God,
Here I am...
me and my sometimes good
sometimes neutral
sometimes bad choices.
All of me.
Here I am.
Here with you.
Here we choose to be.
Today.
Amen.

© matt & laura norvell 2011 www.settingourstones.org
we want to share this with you and hope you'll share with the world;
we simply ask that you let people know where you found these words.
May Grace & Peace be with you.

 

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