But for most of us, our pride and greed is somewhat more contained…a white lie here and there…perhaps a small theft once in awhile…a few carefully chosen harsh words meant to wound. Most of us are basically good people, trying to live as God has called us to live. In the recesses of our hearts we know we’ve been tempted…we’ve stood on the precipice of surrender to our baser desires…enticed by money, recognition, or power to take advantage of situations or people, neglect of our responsibilities, or treat ourselves or others with disregard and disrespect. But take heart…the slippery slope toward sin does not a sinner make.
St Paul in his letter to the Romans tells us that the “lie of sin” is that we think we can’t recover….that our sin makes us irredeemable… unloved and unlovable. Nothing is further from the truth! We are assured over and over in the Gospels and the Psalms that nothing, no sin, can keep us from the love and forgiveness of God. God puts our sins as far away from us as the East is from the West! Lent is an opportunity to walk into the darker corners of our heart and face our shortcomings and open ourselves to the Light of Christ…to allow Christ to transform us into the people that God has made us to
But how do we do that collectively, as a nation? How do we deal with our national sins of racism, bigotry, misogyny, the rejection of the immigrant, the refugee, the LGBTQ community, the poor, the mentally ill, the handicapped, “the other”? Lent can be a time to look not only at our personal sin but at our nation’s “structural sin”! Lent can be a time to begin again…let us not allow the sins of our past and present to darken our future by thinking that all is lost, instead let this Lent be a season of newness…a season of beginning again.
What can I/we do to let the light of Christ illumine the darker corners of our hearts? What feelings or actions do I/we need to let go of in order to begin again…living a more Christ centered life that can lead us to take on the structural sins of our country? What can I do this Lenten season to build up the Reign of God and to speak out against the structural sin of our nation?