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