Today, this second Sunday of Advent, I listened to a sermon which gave voice to something I’ve bee thinking and feeling a lot lately:
I’m sick of living in this world.
I know that sounds negative and perhaps, makes you wonder about my emotional health and what kind of sermons I hear. But, I believe my reflections and the sermon’s arise from sound minds.
The sermon was an exposition of Isaiah 59:8-20 and this lyrical theme from the Christmas hymn O, Holy Night:
“Long lay the world in sin and error pining…”
I know most people don’t really believe in religious notions like sin. Most no longer believe that human error ascends to the level of offenses committed against an almighty, law-giving God.
But the Christian does.
Will God forgive me? Again?
I asked this a lot when I was a young Christian.
I was very uncertain about the answer.
[Illustration courtesy of Martin Bolchover Art & Illustration]
Sadly, I gave myself plenty of opportunities to ask the question; I am a frequent offender against God’s law, aka, a sinner.
Like the Apostle Paul, I know what it is to feel enslaved to the wrong I hate, and powerless to do the good I love (Romans 7:15). But neither Paul, nor I can trespass God’s law (slave to sin or not) without experiencing conscience-consequences: Shame. Guilt. Despair. Self-loathing.
[Hello Readers, I had something in my head and heart that I wanted to share with you today, but I just haven’t been able to get it into the right words. So, I hope you’ll find this updated post, originally published in October 2010, enriching for your spiritual life today. God bless, Lon]
The gospel tells us the good news of what Jesus did to redeem His followers and to restore them to fellowship with His Father. Today I wanted to remind myself, and you, of the means–the how–of that good news. He accomplished our redemption by taking our place, by replacing us.
[Caravaggio’s “Crowning with Thorns”, 1607]
He volunteered to sub for us.