Sin – an Advent reading

Sin Advent reading2
I'm grateful to be part of a church community whose talented artists continually draw my eyes to Christ. Karyn Thurston is one of those artists. This is a Call to Worship she created for last Sunday's services, and graciously allowed me to share here. You can listen to Karyn's live reading of this by clicking here, and be sure to check out more of her work at www.girlofcardigan.com.

Father God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Here are the ways I will sin today:

Wrath is the unprovoked hostility I throw at my husband as he leaves for work as I stumble through a too-early morning after a long wakeful night.

Greed is the way I tune out the needs of a twirling miracle of toddler because I covet time at the feet of the god/idol social media.

Sloth is the way I avoid messes I know someone else will get to later, and Pride the careless humble brag hashtag parade that paints my Instagram feed into an enviable version of our everyday life.

Lust is the binge of Scandal episodes during nap time, Gluttony the third unbudgeted trip to Starbucks, Envy is the white lie I will tell to the well-dressed twenty-something girl in a grocery aisle to make her think I, too, have it all together.

Insignificant failures, sins hardly worth mentioning, and most days I’m too locked in my sleeplessness and my complacency to remember to bother with repentance.  There is little of the prophetic in the pile of dirty dishes.  The knowledge of salvation slips behind the washing machine with so many missing socks.  And usually we are laughing, and usually we are loving, and usually I’m not thinking about how we need you in this place at all.

I understand you bled to save the wicked, the murderer, the liar, the fool – I can feel you in the moments when I have sinned spectacularly, when I am broken and clinging before you, as firmly as I see you in my moments of extraordinary joy.  My sympathetic high priest, who was tempted and did not sin.  My peace in the shadow of death. My saving grace, and I feel your love like it’s everything – a bonfire, a sunrise, an uncontainable cleansing blaze.

The quieter days, the quieter sins witnessed solely by a girl who hardly knows the alphabet – those I think I should hide from you.  They embarrass me.  They are petty, and pointless, and lame.  And I’m less inclined to invite you into my hour of tedium, into the repetition of stubborn disobedience in my superficially mostly harmless routine.  Father God, have mercy on me, a sinner, as soon as I remember to ask you maybe we can hook up once Christmas is over I’m busy I’m busy I’m doing so much I’m doing so very very little.  Are you there, God? It’s me, apathy.  How can you stand me when I’m just… bored?

I imagine you bleeding and dying and bearing the weight of fallen Kingdoms, genocide, systemic injustice, corporate greed, murderous hatred, death and destruction and here is my list of tediously ordinary sins, no less deadly – the festering stink of the fall of man wafting scarcely noticeable smoke trails around the tiny universe of my living room.  You are saving the world – do you have time to bother with the empty spaces of my ungrateful spirit, the dust bunnies under the counter, the weak and waning defiances of this small and failing heart?  Does the King of all creation have sympathy, have grace for sins so brief and boring and undocumented, for the thousand times I don’t even care enough to say I’m sorry?

These are insignificant failures, these are the quietest sins, they are nothing and the roots of everything and the shame of them can keep me running from instead of to you.  You were tried and tempted and you did not sin, and I have it so perfectly easy and still I bring sin after repetitive sin before you – how is it you don’t find that completely, devastatingly pathetic?

So my hope is in your promise that you are a King who has felt and known and saved. Can you speak into the things I am too vain to bring before you?  Will you have me in my failure to remember you, again and again?  Father God, my hope, our only hope is in your mercy. Have mercy on us. Have mercy on me, a sinner.

Author: "The Skeletons in God's Closet." Pastor: Imago Dei Community. Husband, Father, Foster Parent.

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