Posted: 11 Mar 2012 10:09 AM PDT
"Sin" is one of the most overused words in the world. It has been abused, used, directed, redirected, and afflicted upon many people by others assured that their knowledge, belief, and understanding is the truth—and in this is great danger. Wars, aggression, hate, discord, strife, and anger have been the result...anything but healing, atonement, and oneness.
As the brilliant Rabbi Sobel has said at Marble on many occasions, "Each of us possesses truth, our truth. However, it is when truth becomes the truth that we are in trouble." God is Truth; each of us is only a piece of that truth.
In my ministry in the worlds of family caregiving and addiction, many of the people with whom I deal have been wounded by (someone else's) religion. Those from a Christian background are often stuck at the foot of the cross with no hope, no joy...and certainly no resurrection to life...condemned and left to weep, separated for all eternity from God.
And yet that is the exact opposite of the story of Jesus...God with us. Born to die, to rise, and to triumph—knowing no limitation or separation from his father...and in this, giving all of us oneness with God—that spark of the divine in each of us to grow, expand, serve, love, work, and bless.
Sin is separation from God. It is not a list, however noble, of do's and don'ts—as good as these may be, morally and humanly—sin is much greater: it is separation from God.
In today's text Paul is sharing his life and struggles with the people of Corinth...his difficulties, the duplicity, the dichotomies, the reality, the confusion. It is the human condition versus the spiritual condition.
As I read and re-read this text, my heart was filled with the joy of knowing that, indeed, I am not a human being trying to have a spiritual experience...no, I am a spiritual being ...God is in me, as God is in every person, just like he was in Paul...and by grace I am reconciled through the cross to God, filled with the Holy Spirit, and given all I need to make it and to grow through this human condition.
As Teilhard de Chardin wrote in his book, The Phenomenon of Man, "We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience."
And in that dichotomy of life itself—reconnecting with the God from whom we have come, to whom in many cases we were dedicated in baptism, and to whom we will return (thanks be to God!)—the Lenten period does not end with the cross...for the best was yet to come.
Let us resolve to cast off the old concepts of sin—throw away the lists, the bondage, the chains, the guilt, and move on to thenew life...living as Christ Jesus did: filled with God, loving God, learning from God, serving God and man...being the hands, the feet, the eyes, the words, the arms of the Divine Caregiver, in whom we live and move and have our being.
Thanks be to God!
Gregory L. Johnson, interfaith minister for family caregiving