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Lamplighter - Fr. Aran

posted Feb 25, 2016, 12:33 PM by St. Thomas Church   [ updated Jan 29, 2018, 12:40 PM ]

Hello friends . . . grace and peace,

As you know, every now and then I find the thoughts/writings of others and I step aside and let their word be a blessing to you all.  Below you will find the words of a Lutheran pastor friend of mine who wrote the following about her favorite time of the church calendar (Lent) as well as her favorite topic (sin).  She’s a passionate Jesus-follower and I pray her words bless you as they have me.

peace to you

Ash Wednesday is my favorite day of the church year and Lent is my favorite season.  Our culture has quite ruined Christmas and Easter with Santa and the Easter bunny and all the grotesque consumerism and made for TV specials behind all of it. But oddly nobody waits every year to watch the Ash Wednesday Peanuts Special.  There are no Doorbuster sales at 4am on the first day of Lent.  There are no big garish displays in the middle of The Mall with mechanical Children in sackcloth and ashes.

Nope.  We get this one all to ourselves.  Our culture has no idea what to do with a day that celebrates the fact that we all sin and are going to die.  But sin is strangely enough one of my favorite things to talk about.  I sometimes greet my friends by saying “hello sinner”.  It’s a term of deep affection.  I reclaim the word sinner.

I love to talk about sin, which makes little sense to people who want to label me.  I think some people in the church equate admitting we are sinful with having low self esteem.  And then there are others who equate sin with immorality (when in reality only some times do sin and immorality converge).  So some in the church tell us that sin is an antiquated notion that only makes us feel bad about ourselves so we should avoid mentioning it at all.  While others in the church tell us that sin is the same as immorality and totally avoidable if you are just a good squeaky-clean Christian.

But when sin is boiled down to low self-esteem and immorality then it becomes something WE can control or limit in some way rather than something we are bondage to.  The reality is that I cannot free myself from the bondage of self.  I cannot keep from being turned in on self.  I cannot by my own understanding or effort disentangle myself from my self-interest and when I think that I can, I am trying to do what is only God’s to do.

To me, there is actually great hope in admitting my mortality and brokenness because then I finally lay aside my sin management program and allow God to be God for me.  Which is all any of us really need when it comes down to it.