Sin is a virus. Let Lent be the cure.
Throughout the year, the Southern New England Conference of the United Church of Christ produces the Daily Lectionary for use by churches. These are the suggested readings for Friday, March 6th: Psalm 121; Micah 7:18-20; and Romans 3:21-31. I would encourage you to read these short selections as part of your Lenten practice.
Everyone is talking about Coronavirus. I’ve heard that anti-bacterial soap won’t fight Coronavirus, and that makes sense. It’s a virus, not bacteria. Bacteria contain a full copy of their DNA. They are stand-alone. Viruses don’t have a full DNA complement. They have to latch onto some other living thing and force it to sustain the virus. They’re parasites in this way.
Sin is like a virus. It latches on to a person and perverts its spiritual DNA to do its will. Paul, in today’s selection, calls everyone a sinner: “For there is no distinction, since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Sin is not who we are though. The Bible begins by telling us that we are made in the image and likeness of God, male and female. God is not physical nor defined by gender. So we are like God in ways far more important than appearance. We are like God because we can think and choose.
This freedom is our greatest gift and our most severe test. This freedom grants us morality. We are privileged to be able to choose God, but we are also capable of refusing God. We are, therefore, not inherently evil. It is not a necessary part of our human nature or our spiritual DNA. If it were, then Jesus would be sinful since the purpose of His life is to share in our human nature. If Jesus is not human like you and me, then His Incarnation is insufficient and His sacrifice on the cross is inadequate.
Sin, therefore, is like a virus. It subverts our spiritual DNA. It turns us away from God and trying to be godly. It’s not who we are. When we realize this, we have a better chance of treating the infection of sin. When we see its temptations as destructive, our immune response is stronger. Morality isn’t saying “no” to ourselves all the time; it’s the treatment that fights the virus of sin.
Then morality takes on a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment. Isn’t that what the Psalmist is sharing in today’s passage. It is being sung as pilgrims ascend to the heights of Jerusalem, and then further upwards to the Temple. It rejoices in the assurance that God will protect and sustain, and it celebrates the congregation of all these peoples from all over the world coming together to worship. God and each other raise them up.
As we pass through our second Lenten Friday, let us approach the cross as our temple. With faith in Jesus, sin is defeated. Let us live as we should, not because of commands and works continually tallied, but because Jesus loves us as much as the cross and He sees us as we truly are, a godly people. Sin is a disease. Let Lent be the cure.
Faith, love and chitchat.
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