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church:vicars_letters:aug2012mag

Sin - falling short

In the church we seem to be a bit hung-up on guilt and SIN, breaking the rules. In the original Greek translation of the Bible, the word for sin is “hamartia” which means missing the point or not hitting the target. Repentance is “metanoia” meaning a change of perspective or point of view. In medieval England, archers said that their arrows had “fallen short” if they didn't reach the target.

Lots of the prayers we use talk about “sin” and what terrible “sinners” we are and I think that in this we have missed the point and are misleading many people who are new to the church. Sin has taken on the meaning of being deliberate wrong doing; intentionally evil acts; wilful disobedience to the natural laws of society.

Most of us are not intrinsically evil people; we do our best to do good wherever we can, we set ourselves targets of behaviour and usually we hit the target. Sometimes we fall short of our own ideals and then we criticise ourselves. In effect we are “sinning” not because we are evil, but simply because we have fallen short of the standards we have set; we have missed the target.

Sin is about missing the point, falling short, not doing as well as we could do. In this respect it should be encouraging because by falling short we know that we can do better and therefore have encouragement to try again and do better next time. When we sin in this way, when we resolve to do better next time, then we are repenting, we are changing our perspective, we are trying to do better.

By saying the prayer of Confession we are saying sorry for not living up to His/our standards of behaviour (sinning); we are asking God's help in doing better next time (repentance), having put our short-comings behind us:

Grant, we beseech thee, merciful Lord, to thy faithful people pardon and peace, that we may be cleansed from all our sins, and serve thee with a quiet mind; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

From the Registers

23rd JuneMartin Davis & Sarah QuickJoined in Holy MatrimonyStocklinch church.
30th JuneColin Chapman & Gillian BrierleyJoined in Holy MatrimonyKingstone church.
1st JulySamuel MacKeith & Emily St John WrightBlessing of their civil weddingPuckington church.
church/vicars_letters/aug2012mag.txt · Last modified: d/m/Y H:M (external edit)