Yesterday was my turn to write for my church's blog after hearing the sermon and this is what I wrote.
Today's sermon struck the ultimate core of our faith in Jesus Christ. I consider myself an old-school conservative LCMS'er in that I grew up reciting every Sunday the liturgy in the "red hymnal" (which for some was a green hymnal). Although I am also able to adapt to traditional services and music, there is something to be said for the tried and true liturgy which is ingrained in my brain and comes rolling back to the surface.
The confession came to mind while listening to Sunday's sermon: "O Almighty God, merciful Father, I, a poor, miserable sinner, confess to Thee all my sins and iniquities, with which I have ever offended Thee and justly deserve Thy temporal and eternal punishment. But I am heartily sorry for them and sincerely repent of them; and I pray Thee, of Thy boundless mercy, and for the sake of the holy, innocent, bitter suffering and death of Thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ, to be gracious and merciful to me, a poor, sinful being."
This confession (and absolution which follows) wraps up the sermon from original sin, to rebellion, to the pinnacle of rebellion when the people shouted crucify Him, to victory and restoration. My head is so quick to think that I am an inherently good person (as opposed to what seems like the really bad people in the world), but the truth is that I am inherently a bad person just the same as everyone else. Original sin keeps me in a constant state of rebellion, striving to keep God's commandments and to do good because of the faith that is inside me. "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." John 1:8
My private prayer confessions often include the words "a poor, miserable sinner." It puts my heart in sincere confession. I confess I am a total mess and unable to be anything more than in a state of constant rebellion against God's Will. God's Will is used interchangeably with "God's Law." Our bulletin notes questioned, "In what ways do you reject God's will for you and for your life?" and as I pondered I could think of three recent nudgings of the heart in which I have not yet found the energy or braveness to carry out. There I sat, during worship, with this prayer going through my head: "I a poor, miserable sinner confess to You O' Lord, that which I have left undone which has broken the second greatest commandment to love my neighbor as myself." (Mark 12:31)
Throughout scripture we read over and over the stories of rebellion and restoration. Just as throughout Biblical times, the cycle of rebellion and restoration is perpetual, never-ending, and constant in my every day. It makes me think of an unrelated analogy which my husband and I often laugh about. Many years ago, I was teaching my youngest son how God is present everywhere, that He was there in the room with us and also there in the bedroom with his brother. To which my son replied with excitement as he looked up, "Oh yeah, and He's on the [ceiling] fan going round and round and round."
And there I am, on that ceiling fan with God going round and round and round, being covered by my baptism, rebelling, and being restored over and over again, instantaneously. I am forever turning my back on God in sin and He is forever turning me around in forgiveness, as I spin around and around and around. Dizzy sure does describe my life as I am rolling through the mountains of ups and downs in life. Spinning like a whirlwind. Feeling sky high and happy at the top of the roller coaster and feeling down at the bottom. It feels just like my pinball life, bouncing around, my own sin and wayward paths and Christ's forgiveness and redirection emulating my life. God is not done with me yet. I fall to my knees in confession and sadness and I fall to my knees in praise and happiness.
Adam and Eve sinned and in those genetics were passed down through all time the sinful inherent nature. I inherited that sinful nature at birth and I was part of God's plan when Jesus died on the cross. While I was still a sinner, Christ died for me. (Romans 5:8) The blood Jesus shed, He shed for me, and I was redeemed. Although not physically there, I was there in God's plan from Genesis 1:1 and onward.