Posted by: dacalu | 10 April 2009

a step too far

Sorry to be out of touch for so long. It’s been a little over a month and in that time I’ve moved to Tucson and started a whole new life. I also released a book–Life in Space: Astrobiology for everyone–and gave 8 talks on science and religion. So now I’m the Episcopal College Chaplain at U of A and have even more incentive to write on the straightforward faith of Christianity from a post-modern Anglican angle.

Anyway. The subject of today’s blog is “sin.” I figure on Good Friday it’s a good topic. The first thing I want to say is this:

Whatever you’re thinking sin is, forget it for the moment.

We carry so much baggage on this subject, that I think we need to take a step back. Christianity has so much useful to say, but it’s wrapped up in guilt and shame and ego. So let’s start over on the subject of sin.

I talked last week about love and about souls being open to one another. It can all sound a little fluffy, because being open to one another is harder than it might seem at first. Loving people is straightforward, but rarely easy. It means entering into their space a little–and allowing them to enter into yours. Love means connection, but not every connection is good. You can, either accidentally or intentionally, enter too far into someone else’s space. You can know too much or reveal too much in a way that makes it hard to open up more.

My favorite word for this is trespass. Sin is when you trespass on someone else’s soul, or when you trespass against God. It need not be a matter of intending to do harm. It might not even seem like harm at the time. Still, it represents a very real foot out of place in this careful opening of ourselves to one another. Think of trespassing on someone else’s property. I might not have meant any harm–just cutting through the woods on my way to a neighbors. That trespass, however, can have very real consequences, if I disturb the local wildlife or step on the flowers.

Sometimes nothing happens, but sometimes we change something when we trespass–something that was not really ours to change. We do damage. Jesus death and resurrection was a way of resetting the system. Jesus died so that we might eliminate all the negative effects of previous trespasses and start anew. Jesus means forgiveness.

Christians remember that God became human and that we humans tortured and killed him 2000 years ago. This was the ultimate trespass. God made Godself open to us in the form of Jesus Christ and we took advantage–willfully stepping into that opening past where we should have gone. We trespassed on God and killed God incarnate. Forgiving that trespass–for God to reset that one sin and make things right again–meant resetting the whole world. All that was wrong was set right. All sins were forgiven in the forgiving of that one great sin. And the proof of this is the resurrection–the new creation.

On Sunday morning, we celebrate Easter, and the new creation, but today we mourn. We remember that God loved us so much that he suffered our company, he allowed us to have power over God. We remember what we did with that power, we remember that we trespassed, and remember that God forgave.

“Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.”


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