What does the Cross and Empty Tomb Mean for Me and My Deadly Sins?
It's a personal question that I'm pondering as I prepare for Sunday's message. Having spent the past seven weeks reviewing the Deadly Sins, I'm humbled and hopefully wiser. I'm humbled at how prevalant the sins can be in my life, but having examined them, I'm more aware of what they look like in my life and how to overcome- a little more often - their bad effects in my life.
With Lust, I work harder at not looking longer; instead I'll cherish.
With Gluttony, I work harder at not consuming wastefully; instead I'll create.
With Greed, I work harder at not taking wrongfully; instead I'll choose generosity.
With Anger, I work harder at not bristling quickly; instead I'll be patient.
With Sloth, I work harder...
With Envy, I work harder at not despising intensely; instead I'll choose contentment.
With Pride, I work harder at not brooding narcissistically; instead I'll delight in God.
In examining the bad effects of these sins in my life - upon me, upon others, upon God - and how to counter them, I tried to keep the Cross and Empty Tomb in mind. Our sins make up a core reason for why Jesus' story even includes the Cross and the Empty Tomb.
The Cross, for me, reminds me of how deadly my sins are - to me, to others, to God, to Creation. The Cross also reminds me that even while I am yet a deadly sinner, Jesus will extend a promise to me. It is my existential awareness of how deadly my sins are that raise up the meaning of the Cross for me. The Cross reminds me: I want to leave my sins behind.
The Empty Tomb, though, reminds me of Another Way that has opened up before me - contingnent on my trust in Jesus and taking hold of His promise to me on the Cross. I walk (in community with many others...) with Jesus now, resurrected by a real power that has emancipated me from the vice-grip of sin, has brought a restoration to my wounded soul, a reconciliation between all those I have wronged and continue to wrong in one way or another. And now, instead of a preoccupation with how to sin less, now I can walk a way that surges forward in being a blessing to others, to God, to Creation.
This line of thinking makes me think of these words by Jesus - for those of us who want to be free from the vice-grip of the deadly sins...
Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message)
Are you tired?
Burned out on religion?
Come to me.
Get away with me and you'll recover your life.
I'll show you how to take a real rest.
Walk with me and work with me - watch how I do it.
Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.
I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.
Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly.