Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tuesday Lent 6: Mulligan!

Do-overs are awesome.

People gave Bill Clinton a hard time for taking all those mulligans. But I say, mulligans for everybody, whether they're the president or not!

That's what Lent is about. Hell, that's what Christianity is about. Mulligans.

The Greek word for sin, used in the Christian Testament, essentially means, a missed shot. You aimed, but your aim was off. It's an especially merciful word because it presumes the best in us was trying to do the right thing, but we missed. In contrast, I suppose, to the Calvinist theology which formed the basis of the tradition of which I am a part, which assumed no such thing. According to Calvin, original sin has utterly defaced the image of God in each of us, so that we are incapable of good action in and of ourselves.

The Christian testament, the very linguistics which make it up, beg to differ. Sin is not always about our total depravity. Sometimes, sin is about our valiant efforts falling short, straying to one side or the other of the mark we intended to hit.

Today's lectionary reading from Hebrews quotes from Psalm 95:

Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, 
     “Today, if you hear his voice, 

 do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, 
          as on the day of testing in the wilderness...    ~Hebrews 3:7-8

Hardening our hearts can have something to do with missing the mark. We think we're on the right track, the best track, but we have predisposed ourselves to taking the bend in the road when we ought to (sorry dear readers) have gone straight. Or, as my friend L. says, "gaily forward."

But/ And the good news is: mulligans all around! Today is a new day. This morning is a fresh start, whether you need it with the food you meant to eat or the kindness you intended to convey or the honesty you intended to share or the spiritual discipline you intended to practice.

Thanks. Be. To. God.

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