Reformation Lutheran Church A Congregation of the ELCA

Thursday, March 26

Pastor Mari Larson

What Sin?

What sin, what sin?
That's as far away as the east is from the west...
It was gone the very minute you confessed
Buried in the sea of forgetfulness
— Morgan Cryar, Love Over Gold,
2003

 

I must have been listening to Christian radio one of the first times this song was played because it resonated with me instantly, and I bought the CD immediately. I have played the CD hundreds of times over fifteen years, and have been waiting not-so-patiently for the day when the song is covered by one of our copyright licenses so that we can sing it in worship.

 

The song tells the story of an individual struggling with a past sin and crying out to God for forgiveness. God’s words in this song are a powerful restatement of God’s testimony in Isaiah 1:18:

 

though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be like snow;
though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.

 

God has so thoroughly forgiven the sin that God has no record of it, no memory of it. While the individual continues in torment, God shrugs God’s huge shoulders, shakes God’s massive head, and says, “What sin?!” Now we know God has an infinitely long memory, but in this case, the sin has been confessed and has been completely forgiven and forgotten by God.

 

It is often difficult for us to forgive ourselves when we fell into a temptation we saw coming, when there was a way out and we didn’t take it, when we spent our time rationalizing how it wasn’t really wrong rather than repenting because it was. That all-too-brief time at the beginning of worship helps us confess some of our sins, but sometimes we need to devote time to those “sticky” ones that won’t leave us. Sometimes we need to talk it through with someone (12-step groups call this “the fifth step”, we call it “individual confession and forgiveness”). This can be a difficult and awkward time, but it can also be a freeing time. We often don’t realize how much our sin weighs us down until it’s gone!

 

Praying from the song lyrics: Lord, please deliver me from my accusing memory. Nothing makes me weep this way than when I hear you say, “What sin?” Amen

 

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