It’s the final week of this Advent series, and I’ve come down with some kind of flu/cold that makes creating coherent sentences a Herculean task. This is unfortunate, as today my topic is such that I would have a hard time putting it into words even if my brain was firing at its prime. I will muddle through, and pray it somehow becomes a cohesive post. Today we’re lighting the center candle of our Advent wreaths. This candle, traditionally white and lit on Christmas Eve, represents both purity and the light of Christ entering the world. It also signifies Christ washing away the sins of anyone who chooses Him as their savior. As this is the “reclaimed” version of Advent, I’ve no desire to talk about the theology behind this, but I do want to talk about the symbolism of receiving Spirit and being released from sin.
The best definition of sin I’ve ever heard – unfortunately I can’t attribute it because I don’t remember where I heard it – is “anything that blocks your connection with the Divine.” Growing up in the Catholic Church, sin was defined as something terrible I’d done (or thought!) that required penance and atonement. These days, “sin” seems like its own punishment to me – I’ve lost my connection with the Divine, and am living with the illusion that my limited human existence is all that there is. From that place, my actions take on monumental importance and I feel like there’s no way I can “get it right” in this lifetime. I feel pressured, alone, and overwhelmed.
But what if my “job” here on earth is not to even try to get it right? What if it’s to be here and persistently remind myself that I can’t get it right, and the only thing I can do is to walk in faith? Not the faith that promises an eternity in heaven after death, but the faith that lets me see that I’m surrounded by Spirit here, now, and always?
It’s my belief that we’re always connected with Spirit, and it’s only our thoughts, worries and other mental chatter that make us forget this. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, as I’ve had plenty of internal strife to occupy my mind. I’ll get caught up in it, and then be out walking and have a momentary flash of “coming home” to myself as a spiritual being, completely surrounded by Divine love and support. In that moment, it’s impossible for me to value my to-do list, or worry about nearly anything.
What if, just for this week, we define “sin” as anything that makes us forget we’re Divine creations, connected to all that is? How would you live differently this week if this were true?
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.