Sin Eaters…

One of my favorite movie lines is found in the Bourne Legacy:

sineaterByer: No, it’s not. Tune in to what I’m trying to say to you. Do you know what a sin eater is? [Aaron mouths no] Well, that’s what we are. We are the sin eaters. It means that we find the moral excrement that we find in this situation and we bury it down deep inside of us so that the rest of our cause can stay pure. That is the job. We are morally indefensible and absolutely necessary. You understand?

I’m not sure how my mind makes connections, nevertheless, I will attempt to connect this concept with my gripe against Americanized Christianity and it’s approach to Lent/sin. Today’s comfortable, cotton candy words streaming from pulpits or open stages, whether priest or pastor, vestments to Hawaiian shirts, seem more concerned in soothing our egos to further advance job security and growth of their church.

Lent is facing the well hidden, completely defensible, sin buried deeply within us. Sin is very personal.  We know all its desires to keep it well fed. We actually believe this sin is our due, our self righteous reward, and sadly our strength.  Sin is alive to us, our self offering – but dead to God. Listen to Romans 6::13, “Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.” Welcome to the purpose of Lent.  This has nothing to do with jokingly giving up ice cream but rather a focused death of personal sin.  Consider the remarkable failure of traditional Lent practices about giving up ice cream and think about how antibiotic resistant bacteria entered our lives.  If you have a bacterial infection and do not take the full course of antibiotic to kill the bug, guess what, ….it gets stronger.  How? If you only spoon feed yourself two of the prescribed five days of the yukky stuff and happily kill off eighty percent of the infection, then what happens to that remaining twenty percent of creepy crawlies? Despite feeling  a little better, you have now shown your enemy your war plan for next time giving them plenty of time to begin figuring out a way to become resistant.  Imagine what happens with ice cream! For the rest of the year, some of the remaining non-lactose intolerant will eat it with a vengeance, as if it couldn’t effect them.

Lent is clearly not about ice cream, cookies, chocolate, or chips. Lent is about maturing.

Lent is daring ourselves to look deep within, removing the moral excrement hidden under the facade of righteousness, and killing it over a prescribed regimen of forty days. Lent is not only for people, but all governing bodies spouting Christian grace through Christ. And yes…it is always time to houseclean.

Are you as tired as I am? Is this concept even new? When will Christians, in all positions, garner the courage to stand up and say enough!  When will the fear of job security of the preacher turn to God and not self comfort?  It amazes me that although I heard it preached many times that we will all stand naked under the clarifying light of God, yet… sin still seems to be the preferred offering instead of righteousness to God.

Oh yeah, as for sin eaters, there was and is and will be only One…

Pray for me since God has been more than patient, abundantly merciful, ever-loving, and unexpectedly forgiving with me!

His,

Chris

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Soon…very soon

images (5)A very long time ago Our Celestial Artist, One who’s name is sacred and indefinable to our limitations, clothed His creation called man with a fragile yet beautifully appointed canvas. His broad, brush-strokes of flesh colored pigment hid G_d‘s capacity while His smallest brush highlighted the sparkle in man’s eyes and invitation in man’s smile.  This masterpiece was intentionally delicate in the hues of free will which clung to immortality by friendship in The Painter’s ways.  Inevitably, seemingly expectantly, this fragile composition dared to live in its weakness instead of the glow of immortality’s obedience.

Still… despite the heartbreak of allowing the image of True Love’s design to exist in an increasing fragile state, all was not lost.  For His design was perfectly flawed and could never obtain complete independence from the very breath which gave it life.  Within the tangible artistry of man remained an eternal invisible soul.  The soul is our true piece of the Infinite Artist that yearns for it’s ways of profound love.  Guiding the souls to awake their sleeping pilots took time confused by its darkened priorities of pride and selfishness.

Still…there was hope.  Hope came on a cool, Bethlehem night when a star split the sky splashing brilliant colors on the hidden hillsides where shepherds rested with one eye opened. For its was deemed the perfect time to calm the watchful souls wrapped in selfish slumber.  Hope was clothed no differently in the tangible artistry and unremarkable to another…but within this soul it bound all souls to True Love’s discerning eye for detail.  As Hope’s story unfolded, it challenged all to embrace their true weakness and gratefully celebrate this flaw ironically designed to awake those sleeping in the warmth of their darkened ways. To galvanize that Hope truly walked among the sleeping, Our Benevolent Artist, framed His most indescribable masterpiece on blood-drenched wood for our future memory.

Still…many cannot see past the dark reds and horrendous tortured blues stilled in forever’s frame of human memory.  Not all have awakened – and to those it’s either laughable or shameful to parade this picture around in the general public.  Expressing True Love’s capacity hidden behind Calvary’s depiction has proven to be a well intentioned effort profoundly hampered at times by impatience and unforgiveness.  For hidden within the snapshot dressed in bruised blues, ashen flesh tones, and blood reds,  Hope lightly brushed the profound new colors of love, patience and forgiveness to the awakened hearts. These highlights of of Hope’s perseverance must be re-touched everyday for they are not self imposed or even possessed…they are a simply a daily gift.

Still…as the highlights of patience, forgiveness, and love sparkle and fade in today’s darkened hillsides; our souls still yearn for its sanctuary.  Soon…very soon, the sky will split again – not to awaken, but rather to judge both the awakened and the sleeping.

Dear friends, allow your brilliant colors of patience, forgiveness, and especially love to sparkle like Christmas lights today. If you realize you may still be sleeping – seek and you’ll find that true Christianity is beyond a strong cup of coffee.

In patience, forgiveness, and love,

Chris

Awakened

forgive2

Colors that bleed true surely never fade,
framed within a painting hard to describe.
Beyond the pale of blood reds and bruised blues,
Mounted on wood that challenges my pride.

As if abruptly awakened from bliss,
Sheltered under covers that cannot hide,
Forgiveness grants my heart new room so that,
Unexpected humility resides.

Yearning now replaces comfortable sleep,
Prayer becomes incessant with tears I weep,
Hope fills my days with colors that now bleed True,
With sacred reds and compassionate blues.

by Chris Clody 12/15/13