Sin no more

 

Do those who have been saved weigh less than those not?
When I have been knowingly bad do I put on lbs?
Is confession like doing weight watchers?
Is forgiveness having a detox?

 

I was raised on the spiritual food groups.  Bible.  Church.  Sin.  Seems to me, looking back, that is a very frugal diet for a young man with appetites.

 

Do those who have been saved look thinner than those not?
When I have been knowingly bad do I get flabby?
Is confession like doing weight watchers?
Is forgiveness having a detox?

 

I thought love was smiling at everyone.  I thought love was chatting to everyone.  I thought love was something God did to us.  Because I never knew what love was at all.

 

When I was saved did I look heavier before?
When I have been knowingly good am I thin?

 

As I journey I have less and less interest in sin.  Sin bores me.  Sin distracts me.  Sin has become a label for something I no longer understand.  For something I am told I must.

 

Is confession like doing weight watchers?
Is forgiveness having a detox?

 

Sin no more, Jesus said.  Cured and “sin no more”.  And I wonder … What if he meant it?  What if “sin no more” was: sin “no more”?  What if I … sin “no more”?  What if I am free … “of sin”?

 

Confession is good for the soul
But confession of what.
Confession for who?

 

What if we would not let go of sin – just so that we didn’t have to love?
What if:  “You are cured and can only love”, we didn’t get on with?
What if heaven is now, and what if … we chose hell?

 

We seem to want to see a lifetime of suffering.
We seem to wish it upon ourselves.

.

You are cured and can sin no more.

Would leave so much more room for love.

.

What are you looking for today?

The kingdom of heaven if like a mustard seed … like a vineyard … the Kingdom of Heaven is like …

Images and imagery. And we take one colour from a palette of colours, one frame from a reel of frames, one phrase from a story of phrases, one word from the words of one verse.  All of which is okay.

Love is like that. Love is subjective.  Love is selective.  Love is intuitive.  Love is greater than death – and what can be less “objective” than something being greater than death?

Jesus said to the disciples, ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling-places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.’ Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’ John 14:1-6

Many dwelling places – a place for you – I go to prepare – will come again – take you – where I am – you may be also.

I am the way, and the truth, and the life.

No one comes to the Father except through me.

My dad loved the “resort hotel” image. He quoted those verse fragments often.  He had an affection for that imagery.  It became something real for him.  It encapsulated his version of his God.  It never had the same meaning for me.  A hotel resort seemed too “service provider and guest” for me.  But say those verses to me and it is my dad – and God – who spring to mind.

But get me started on “No one comes to the Father except through me” and I can paint pictures for hours (and hours!). That phrase encapsulates so much of my own relationship with my version of my God.  And yet to someone else their experiences would get in the way of my imagery.  Say that phrase and so much of my own relationship with GSHJ springs to mind

And then “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” – now there is an image we can all share around any campfire in the still hours of evening. The images crackling from those few words just as the burning logs crackle sensuously.

Six verses. Probably not a transcript of what Jesus said. An amalgam, a distillation, an essence – a “signature”.

A signature.

Imagine if we debated the bible in those terms: does this passage have the signature of our Lord Jesus Christ? Do we see God’s signature in these words? Just like the brush strokes in the paintings of the Masters.  Just like the tone and intonation – the sound – of a particular singer.  Just like the timbre and pacing – the voice – of a well-known character.

The signature of God. The fragrance of God.  The essence of God.  The voice of God.

How many conversations do you have in just one day?

I have telephone conversations with customers, employees, colleagues. And in between I have text messages and conversations with family, friends, and those who visit the house (I work from home).  Imagine if all of those were recorded and debated and pored over.  Imagine if all of those were recorded – would they be a real transcript or the transcript of a dodgy memory?  And imagine even attempting to record every word spoken to every person encountered.  It would be too much!

But now ask someone to record the essence of my words – “the signature” of Paul in those words.

“That’s not Paul, Paul doesn’t speak like that!” … or … “That’s pure “Paul” – that’s how he talks!” … And much routine stuff might be “That could be anybody.”

So why do we spend so little time seeing the signature of God Soft Hands Jesus in the bible? Why do we so often “use the bible” as a script, a transcript, a precise record of what He said to whom?

Six verses this morning and three “signatures” jumped out at me: my God – my dad – and me.

Because when we look for a signature, we are looking for someone. We are looking for the person we know.  We are looking for the person we love.  We are looking for love.

So just why do we spend so much time looking for “sin”?  Looking at darkness, looking at death – a search for “disconnection” from the God we Love.  I used to do that – it’s how I was taught.  Cast out sin, do not let sin in, keep sin out, be watchful, be alert, sin is everywhere, it will get you … on and on and on!  Always looking at darkness, always looking at death, and always disconnected from the God I yearned to Love and know better.  And couldn’t.  Because I was always looking for sin.

And now … ?

I look for love.  Because when I look for love, I am looking at Light and Life.  And I have found there to be one MASSIVE BONUS!!  When I am not looking for sin … I never find it!  Imagine that!!   Imagine never finding sin in others, never finding it in yourself – not the disabling , disconnecting darkness of death “sin” … Isn’t that what we all hope for when we talk about “heaven”?

And the other MASSIVE BONUS … ?

I find – and see – loads of love everywhere and in everyone.  In the oddest of places and oddest of people at the oddest of times.  And every time that connects.  Every time that breathes life into both of us.  Every time that transcends the ordinary.  Every time that uplifts!

So I have a question …

What are you looking for today – and why?