How do you feel about that word?
I think that it is a word that can make people feel thoroughly uncomfortable. Some, I am sure, might want to cut it right out of the Christian vocabulary. And perhaps there is good reason for this. Perhaps sin has been used against some as a weapon, to hurt, shame, and isolate.
However, I think that sin is incredibly important. It helps describe the reality that there are things that we do, individually and collectively, that we should not. There are things that we do (or fail to do) that hurt ourselves, hurt others, hurt the earth, and hurt God.
I am beautifully and wonderfully made – a beloved child of God, just like you. I am also a sinner, just like you. Both these things are true, and powerful, beautiful, brave, and humbling things that we get to claim about ourselves. They are statements that run counter to what the world would have us believe. They are admissions of our need for help, for forgiveness, for grace, for liberation – an admission that we cannot do it on our own.
In our tradition, we have a beautiful gift: the sacrament of reconciliation – confession and absolution. Sacrament – something we claim is a special vehicle of God’s grace. It is an opportunity to regularly confront our sin, to repent, to have the dark parts of ourselves exposed to the grace, and love, and mercy of God.
As we prepare for the coming of our God – our God who comes to be in solidarity with us; who comes to walk alongside us; who comes to forgive, and love, and free us from all that imprisons us, let us lean into this practice of confronting sin, wherever it may be found; let us lean into the gift of grace that we have in the sacrament of reconciliation.
Thanks be to God!
PS. If you would like to learn more about, or receive the sacrament of reconciliation privately during Advent (or any time) please get in touch!