I’m A Sinner, You’re A Sinner…

…he’s a sinner, she’s a sinner, wouldn’t you like to be a sinner, too?

An excerpt from the Catechism in the Book of Common Prayer, a summary of the Episcopal Church’s teaching:

What is sin?
Sin is the seeking of our own will instead of the will of God, thus distorting our relationship with God, with other people, and with all creation.

How does sin have power over us?
Sin has power over us because we lose our liberty when our relationship with God is distorted.

What is redemption?
Redemption is the act of God which sets us free from the power of evil, sin, and death.

How did God prepare us for redemption?
God sent the prophets to call us back to himself, to show us our need for redemption, and to announce the coming of the Messiah.

What is meant by the Messiah?
The Messiah is the one sent by God to free us from the power of sin, so that with the help of God we may live in harmony with God, within ourselves, with our neighbors, and with all of creation.

I guess that aptly states my view, though I reiterate that I respect the views of others that differ from mine. If Jesus didn’t die so our sins might be forgiven, why did he die? I’m not arguing my view, I’m asking a serious question thats been niggling at me for some time.


5 responses

  1. Marjorie,I think you ask a very important question: Why did Jesus die? We have been taught in religious training that it was “to take away the sins of the world,” so that ” “our sins might be forgiven.” This has always confused me. I can make little sense of it. Obviously Jesus’ death did not take away the sins of the world. Knowing Jesus has never given me the feeling that my sins were forgiven. There is plenty in our civilization that we could consider sin, still. Why did he die then? Well there are the practical reasons – the politics and customs and fear of the times. Then there are the more metaphorical reasons: that perhaps his message, Jesus’ reason for living, was complete. He has certainly taught us much and given us centuries of leadership. Has Jesus brought us closer to God? If so, then in this he has helped to take away sin – that which separates us from God.

  2. Hi Marjorie. I have an idea of why Jesus died, but it’s only personal and not necessarily right. I think the ultimate reason he died was to reconcile us to God. I think that’s why he lived, too. I don’t think he planned on dying, but that, given the things he taught and the kind of person he was, his death became inevitable. He could have probably escaped, left town, stopped preaching, but he had the courage of his convictions. Maybe he thought that the only way to stay true to his message was to hold notheing back. He exemplified integrity – lived and died as he taught – so that we would believe his message and be in relationship with God. Or so it seems to me 🙂

  3. I am always intrigued as to what Jesus knew of his destiny — being fully God, I assume he knew everything and he certainly speaks this way in John. Being fully human, I wonder whether things unfolded a bit more gradually — did he know his whole life, or only learn bits as time went by?Reconciling us to God, yes. And I certainly understand the tie-in to the sacrifices of the OT. I suppose it would be very interesting to study other mythologies involving death and resurrection, I wonder if I’d find them useful.

  4. History is rife with “dying gods” :-). Here’s one of my favorites … This is the time of year when people around the world celebrate the death and resurrection of their god and savior. He was born over two thousand years ago by a virgin mother. His birthday was December 25 and he was the “light of the world,” the divine force who could defeat evil and grant humans immortality and eternal salvation on the day of judgment when the dead would rise again and fight the final conflict in which the world as we know it would end in the triumph of light over darkness. He eventually became the favored god of the Roman Empire, and emperors from Nero on were pictured wearing his radiating crown (“halo”). This god and savior’s name is, of course ….. Mithra.

  5. Meredith wrote: “Has Jesus brought us closer to God? If so, then in this he has helped to take away sin – that which separates us from God.” That resonates with my feeling.Does it also apply to Gandhi and MLK? I think so. The divine economy is so foreign to our thinking. What is death?People think death is the ultimate tragedy. No so. Death is a door we all pass through. Blake said “every death is an improvement in the state of the departed.”

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