After spending a week meditating on Creation, and on the blessing it is to be created by God, the Story takes a sudden and tragic turn. The first two people on earth go against the only prohibition God sets for them, and the disaster that follows is complete. They are ejected from the garden into a life where pain, heartbreak, and death will accompany them for the rest of their lives, and infect the lives of every human since then.
This is also the point where things might get a little touchy for us. So let me say right up front: If you disagree with anything shared on these pages, please know we have no intention to attack. My friends and I are making a serious effort to faithfully represent God’s Story as the Bible tells us. You have a right to disagree, and whether you agree or not, I encourage you to take up a Bible and read the story for yourself. Any and all respectful discussion is encouraged – I just ask that you act as you would if you were in my house, since this is sort of my digital home into which you’ve been invited.
Frankly, it’s not fun talking about sin, and its results. I don’t mean the things you’ve done wrong – I mean everything that’s wrong with the world, whether intentional or intentional. Sin is behind every thing wrong, from murders to natural disasters. Every pain you’ve ever suffered, any wrong that has been done to you, every relationship broken, can ultimately be traced back to that one sin, the original sin.
Yet, this chapter of the story is one of the truest to the spirit of Lent. Lent is a time for us to face those things we don’t like to talk about – our bad habits, our deep resentments, perhaps wrongs to you done long ago which you need to forgive, or wrongs you have done for which you need to forgive yourself. If we don’t face the wounds, we won’t be able to heal, no matter how they were inflicted.
The world is a beautiful place, but it can also be very, very ugly. It behooves us to take a little time to meditate on why that is – to come to terms with our own sinfulness, to confess it, and to truly mourn for the wrong we have done. This is not artificial guilt; this is not self-flagellation for imperfection; this is not self-loathing. It’s just honesty. Our culture tends to sear our conscience, making us think we’re “not that bad,” or at least not as bad as that other person. But the truth is that we stand unworthy before a holy God. This makes the fact that he loved us so much that he sent is Son to die in our place, to take the punishment we deserved, so incredibly powerful.
If you are reading The Drama of Scripture, this week read “Act 2: Rebellion in the Kingdom: Fall” (pp. 41-46). (It’s painful, but at least it’s short. The next chapter is really long, so you might want to get a head start.)
Here are some passages to meditate on this week:
- Genesis 3:1-24 – The original story of the fall. This passage also contains the first prophecy of Jesus, who would later come to fix this mess; can you spot it?
- Genesis 4:1-16 – Humans didn’t waste much time between the first sin and the worst sin – This is the story of the first murder, committed by Adam’s son.
- Isaiah 53:4-6 – A prophecy about Jesus, who took all our pain and suffering and wrongdoing upon himself.
- Romans 5:12-14 – Sin, which started with Adam, has pervaded all of humanity.
- Romans 8:18-25 – Not just humans, but all of creation was pervasively impacted by the fall, and all of creation waits for the cure to be made complete.
Almighty and most merciful Father,
we have erred and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep,
we have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts,
we have offended against thy holy laws,
we have left undone those things which we ought to have done,
and we have done those things which we ought not to have done.
But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us,
spare thou those who confess their faults,
restore thou those who are penitent,
according to thy promises declared unto mankind
in Christ Jesus our Lord;
and grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake,
that we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life,
to the glory of thy holy Name. Amen
–From The Book of Common Prayer, Morning Prayer Rite 1, pp. 41-2.