Posts Tagged “sin”

As I was closing the Library last night, I happened to notice a book laying on one of the shelves in the Bound Periodicals section. Not a big deal I thought—someone probably just set it down while looking at an article and forgot about it. As I drew closer I noticed that it was a copy of Joüon & Muraoka’s A Grammar of Biblical Hebrew, and that it didn’t have a call number label on its spine—apparently someone’s personal copy. However, when I picked it up I started noticing some odd things about the book. Imagine a Library book where the barcode had been peeled off the back, the call number label had been cut out of the protective tape on the spine, and the ownership label had been removed from the front endsheet. That’s exactly what I was looking at. The call number was still written on the inside front cover and indicated that it was from the Reference section.

Was someone going to steal the book, but had a change of heart? Did someone “borrow” it for the semester and then return it? Who knows? You just don’t expect that sort of thing to happen around a seminary. Sure we have security gates, but they’re more to prevent people from accidentally walking out with books than to deter conscious theft. I was troubled and disturbed that someone in the Seminary community would do something like this.

However, the more I think about it, the less troubled I am. Around the Seminary, where everyone is so nice to everyone else (most of the time), it’s easy to begin believing at some level the illusion that we are good people. People out in the world may be sinful, but seminarians are righteous—or so it might seem. But that’s not the truth. Seminarians are sinners like everyone else. Although my particular struggle may not be the temptation to steal library books, I have my sins, and they are just as evil and ugly. Who am I to cast the first stone?

So, to whoever tried to make off with the Joüon-Muraoka, Christ forgives you, and so do I.

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During the Lenten season this year–the time of the Church calendar where we especially mourn for our sin—my church installed a sculpture by one of our members in the sanctuary.


Here’s how the artist, Liz Wheeler, describes it:

Sin, brokenness and death are all we have without Christ. Like a tornado sweeping through our lives, sin is terrifying and completely life-shattering. Thankfully we have Christ who came to fix our broken lives by resisting the temptation to sin and by sacrificing his own life for ours. “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” (John 12:46)

In keeping with the meaning of Easter, the sculpture—as a symbolic representation of sin—was removed between the Good Friday service and Easter Sunday.

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Just a few seconds after walking in the door of my apartment after church this morning, my phone rang. The caller was an obviously distraught Elvenyukiryu—my good friend from high school. She had just learned that an 18-year-old friend of hers from work had earlier in the morning murdered the parents of the 14-year-old girl he was secretly dating, and then fled with the girl, either having kidnapped her or taking her willingly. (Follow the story as it breaks: html | rss.)

For some reason yet to be determined, this young man took a seriously wrong turn in life that culminated in the death of two people, the possible kidnapping of a minor, orphaned children, and friends left in a world that doesn’t make sense anymore—shattered lives all around. What possesses an otherwise normal and well-adjusted person to commit murder?

And yet, what depths of sin exist within all our souls? Is not the evil necessary to commit murder present within us all in one form or another? Is it not only by the grace of God that such evil is restrained?

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