I’ve been quiet for over a week now. I’m on vacation and so generally just messing about, jogging and a little bit of marking. Mostly I have been thinking about holy week. I didn’t get to any services as somehow I got disconnected from what was going on in my church. But not to worry as I have been following my own vein of theological thinking. Basically I have been thinking about sin and salvation. Tis the season of course for such areas of consideration with today, Easter day, being the pinnacle of the christian celebration since Ash wednesday.
So, sin. What is sin? Thats my major question. My old answer used to be ‘anything that separates us from God and that hinders our relationship with Him’. Pretty neat I thought. Got that one wrapped up, right? Wrong. Its part of the answer but not the whole story. Now, before I continue, I must say that I still dont have a reasonably complete answer. I’ve tried reading through some intro’s to christianity but the understadning is just not happening. I keep coming against several thoughts. The first one is Original sin. The second one is inherited sin. The first one, original sin is from Adam and Eve disobeying God by eating from the forbidden tree. In doing so they doom humankind for all eternity. The second one, inherited sin, is more complicated. Its kinda like the sins of each generation get passed on down the line which is why society is full of greed, selfishness and generally screwing over anything and anyone to get on in life. I might have those two points mixed up wrong. There’s also a view of sin being estrangement from God and also another view of sin being a necessary stage in evolution but I don’t understand them so won’t write them here. Google them.
I think you can see why I don’t ‘get’ both of the these. Or perhaps not. Perhaps its because they are both so black and white, cut n dried. They probably both have shades of truth though. Yet behind these points there is one major truth that has be accepted before these two points are even considered. This major point is simple really(!). You have to accept there is a God. A God who wants to be in relationship with us. Who loves us first without us doing anything for Him. He needs no favours, no correct incantation, no symbols, no order of service, no background history research. He’s there, patiently loving us, waiting.
So, ok, you accept there is a God but uh oh, now you have to deal with this sin thing. Did you realise your a sinnner. What the blazes does this old fashion word mean?! I think sin means more than doing bad things that upset God. Cos, how do we know? Apparently the greek word for sin is ‘hamartia’ which means ‘failing to hit the target’. So we fail because we fail to hit the target of living in the fullness of life God created us for. Thus we end up hurting ourselves, each other and this beautiful planet we live on. We hurt out of fear, self-centeredness, egotism and selfsih love. (yes I know I got two of the same ideas in that sentence). Basically, through our own inadeqacies, failures and lack of self accountancy, we twist love into an ugly, life sapping entity. We may set out to do good. Perhaps each day we try to give back to our communities in some gesture but who really benefits from that? Is that sustainable day in day out, year in year out? Perhaps for a few people who can discipline their energies….. Is the intention of the act of kindness 100% unconditional? I’m just throwing ideas out here.
Anyway, in the chistian faith we have this guy called Jesus. Who is both God and man. So God himself came to meet us humans, freely gave of himself (to death) because this ‘sin’ is so important that accountability had to be taken. It couldn’t be swept aside. God wants so much to be inrelationship with us that He himself had to heal the rift. He made a way for us to know His love and be able to love Him back. The way being through Jesus. That, my friend, is why we celebrate Easter.
(this is not a definitive answer, I think I will take years to work it out!)