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Thursday, March 09, 2006

Meditations on Sin and children (well, every one else, but especially children)

Matthew 9:1-8

1And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city.

2And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.

3And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth.

4And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?

5For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?

6But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.

7And he arose, and departed to his house.

8But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.

Since this is Lent, I thought that it would be a good time to share some of my thoughts on Sin. A lot of these thoughts are stolen from the wise women in my devotional class at church, so if I'm sounding redundant to those who know me, I am totally guilty of thought-plagiarism (so sue me John H.).

We believe, as Lutherans, that everyone is guilty of sin. Even the 14 week old fetus I'm currently incubating will go to Hell if not for the grace of God offered in Christ. This is a hard teaching that we do not want to accept.

Surely this child who cannot even survive outside of my womb is not a sinner, what could he or she have done to deserve Hell?

The fact that this child could not survive outside of my womb is the proof that this child is a sinner. "The wage of sin is death," and by knowing this we can discover who the sinners are. We may be able to postpone it, but we all die. Everyone who has ever been conceived has died, or will die.

Our sicknesses are also the proof of our sinfulness. When Olivia was born we both had fevers. We had to take antibiotics. I certainly had just recently been guilty of sin. I was guilty of hating those awful nurses and not being thankful for the care they were trying to give me. I knew I was a sinner.

But Olivia was proven a sinner as well, even though she was not even aware of what was going on and was completely incapable of feeling hate or ingratitude. She had a fever, Death's mark on sinners. She needed to be healed, both of sin and of her fever.

Matthew 9 teaches us that sin and illness are one in the same. Heal the sins, and you heal Death's hold on that person as well.

This is a hard teaching for sure. I want to believe that my newest child will be in Heaven and be raised on that day when my Lord returns. But on what am I going to place my faith? It is surely no comfort for me thinking that this littlest of children has done nothing wrong and can't be blamed before God. We have seen that that is obviously not true.

Rather, I will place my faith in God's mercy. He gives us His grace daily when we hear the Word of God. I know that my little one in me has heard God's Word. If my child is born knowing her earthly father's voice because he or she heard it for nine months in my womb, then she will surely know her Father in Heaven's voice as well. Heck! Olivia recognized Emmylou Harris's voice when she was only a few days old. I know she heard God's Word more than she listened to Wrecking Ball inutero.

Jesus died on the cross for us 2000 some odd years ago, and we receive the benefit of that today through the Means of Grace: The Word, Baptism, and the Lord's Supper. Surely I will place my faith on those things. Surely I will bring my children to the Table and the Font. Jesus is the only person who has conquered the death we are all subject to, and therefore I know He is the only one I can trust.