Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Another kind of sin

Job 38:1-7; 34-41
Hebrews 5:1-10
Mark 10:35-45

These were the lectionary readings for last Sunday. It speaks to me about the types of sin that we do not usually confess. Perhaps we don't because they do not fall in line with our understanding of sin.

Sin, to most, consists of actions, words, thoughts that are contrary to the nature and will of God. To be totally other to God's image is considered to be a place of fallenness. These passages do not speak of sin as being contrary to the image of God, but speaks of the places where we want to be like God too much.

Wanting to sit at His side.
James and John wanted to sit at his side. In other accounts it is their mother that puts forward this request. Sitting on the ruler's side meant a place of authority, a place where commands could be issued in the name of the "king" and to expect other subjects to obey on the weight of this authority. It is not surprising that Jesus responds with "You do not know what you are asking". Can anyone be in a place where they can speak on behalf of God, totally convinced that what they say or do is the absolute will of God? Extreme conservatives in the gay-debate are convinced that "God hates fags", while extreme liberals believe that "Jesus was a homo(sapiens)". It is a dangerous place, trying to speak on God's behalf. Perhaps this needs to be included in our prayers of confession, especially when our words cause unjust pain.

Wanting to tell God what to do.
In the story of Job, Job was frustrated with God and with life. "Why do the innocent suffer?" His frustration led to the point where he believed that he was able to see righteousness where God failed to do so. The natural response was to start telling God what to do and how to do it. A bit arrogant, we might think. So, in our arrogance, we pray that God must rid our society of crime, as if God stands idly by. We pray that God must heal gays and lesbians, as if God made a mistake and should form them in our (heterosexual) image. It raises a few questions. God responds to Job: "Who the hell do you think you are?" - paraphrase.

Wanting to be indespensible.
Perhaps God cannot do without me. Perhaps God would be stuck if I choose this career instead of that one, this spouse instead of that one. We have been caught up in the whole spin of predeterminism. Proving our loyalty to God through our actions, positions and status may be our way of holding on to the idea that if it weren't that way, the world would cease to exist. Guess what, God calls, we follow. See how this is written in Hebrews.

Some things to think about: My place before God, my place as a Christ-follower in society, my place as a person called by God to be a citizen of the Kingdom.

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