Palm Sunday, Holy Week and Easter - Our way through sin & redemption
The way we move through Lent and Holy Week to Easter shapes in dramatic form what we believe about sin and redemption.
• Sin: The world’s brokenness, including our own
• Redemption: The act of God to create us anew
All too often, however, we allow ourselves to think of sin and redemption only in individualistic terms. Because of this we miss, I think, something essential about what the Good News of Easter really is about.
The Catechism in the back of The Book of Common Prayer wisely reminds us of the corporate—not merely individual—nature of sin and redemption, both of which are interpreted in terms of the sorts of relationships we enter into.
• When people, alone or as groups, seek our own will instead of God’s, this is ‘sin’. It distorts all our relationships, with God, one another, indeed with all of creation.
• Likewise, redemption is being freed from distortion, put back in right relationship with all three, through God’s action as incarnate, dying and conquering death.
In the Old Testament it is the people of God who are understood to sin, to be called to repentance, and to be redeemed by God.
• Individuals participate in sin and redemption; but individual sin always is understood in relationship to the effect it has on the whole community and the land they live on.
• And salvation is understood to mean God’s work on behalf of those same people—whom God liberates from bondage, leads in the wilderness, and gives a Promised Land.
Christian theologians often have emphasized the ways in which human sinfulness and redemption are connected with the destiny of the natural world.
• Some like the 16th century protestant, Martin Luther, even believed that the existence of thorns and thistles and other troublesome aspects of the natural world did not exist until human beings sinned! I’m relieved he has not visited our yard!
• Some others, like the contemporary Anglican theologian, Matthew Fox, have called on us to understand the ways in which “thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” is about non-human as well as human creation—and God’s intention to fashion “a new heavens and a new earth” when redemption is complete.
During Lent and Holy Week we repent of our distorted relationships, so that our Easter joy may include the celebration of new ways of being God’s people—with God, one another, and creation…together we can with God’s help. NLJ+
PS If you’d like to go ‘deeper and wider’ in learning about our faith, join Wayne on Sunday mornings @9, during the Great 50 days of Easter. He will be leading Episcopal 101, a good opportunity to learn more and/or refresh your learning about how The Episcopal Church has unique both/and gifts to bring to an either/or worldview. This gathering will also serve those who seek to confirmed and those who seek to support those to be baptized