I’ve been pondering “sin.” Now, stay with me here …
There are many ways to define the word, but the one that resonates most with me is “a thought or action that threatens one’s connection to God.”
We are told that God is love, and that love is patient and kind, that love rejoices in justice and our community with one another. We’re aware of all the thoughts and actions that divide our community, that foster injustice, that devolve into hate – but we hesitate to call those “sin.”
Instead, we say that we’re divided, that we disagree, that we live in a polarized world. And the problem seems too big for any one of us to solve.
It’s discouraging to reflect on the size of the gap between us, the scale of the hatred. It’s easy to despair at the hugeness of it all. How can I contribute to the solution?
I can strive to put things right in my own life – to take the log out of my own eye to better see the speck in my brother’s eye. I need to reflect on myself, and to check myself when I have those thoughts or engage in those actions that make me part of the wider problem. I have to check my own anger, my rage, my prejudice, my hate. I need to repair my relationship with God.
And I have to believe that if each of us did this, kindness would reach critical mass, and peace would come on earth.
Let’s reflect today.
Hello my friends,
It’s the last day of the month, so it’s time for a life update!
My dissertation is finished at long last! I defended in December and did all the rounds of revisions. Waiting on my Ph.D. diploma in the mail.
My application for tenure has gone up the chain and been approved at all levels, so I will be a tenured professor starting in the fall semester.
I’m currently teaching two summer classes, which will be done at the end of June.
As I write this, I’m taking a break from writing my first book. I signed a contract with a publisher back in November, and the manuscript is due in about 10 days, so I’m soldiering away on that.
I haven’t had a chance to take a vacation yet, but am hoping to do so in July!
Please keep in touch and let me know how your summer is going!
This past Saturday, Prince Harry married Meghan Markle. And Sunday was Pentecost Sunday, the day we celebrate the birth of the Christian faith.
Both of these events were surrounded by metaphors of wind, breath, and fresh air.
In the Christian tradition, God created the first human by breathing life into that which was lifeless. And when the Holy Spirit came upon believers, she came in the form of wind and tongues of fire, breathing new life into a community that could have been tempted to give up on the future. Breath, wind, life.
In the same way, many of us look forward to spring. Here in Michigan, the winters are long, and we eagerly anticipate the day when we can throw open our windows, air our homes, “spring clean” our lives. There’s nothing like the feel, and smell, of those early breezes that clear our minds to make room for the fresh and new.
On Saturday, a bride and groom said their vows. An ordinary life event in many ways, except this was a first: A “senior” member of the royal family chose a bride who is American, biracial, and a divorcee – a bride that, even a generation ago, he would have been forbidden to marry. If you watched the ceremony, you could see the love these two have for one another. Love won out (love always wins in the end), and these two are a fresh breeze blowing through an ancient institution. I expect they are going to do great things and have an extraordinary life together.
The sermon at their wedding service was preached by an African-American who was born in Chicago, educated at Yale, and began his career in the American south. The reaction shots of the British, Anglican congregation were telling. This was not the type of sermon – or preacher – they were accustomed to. Some looked uncomfortable, others looked amused, but a fresh breeze was blowing through that ancient church that day.
Let’s pray for a fresh wind to blow through our lives, our country, and our culture – a wind that will sweep out old hatreds and prejudice, and give us the breath of life.
PS – If you missed Bishop Curry’s sermon, you can find it here. It’s a fresh breeze.