God giving Adam the divine spark. Detail from Micahangelo's painting on the Sistine Chapel ceiling.
Sermon Date: May 11, 2008
Title of Sermon: Original Blessing
Scripture: Psalm 8
Relevant Passage: 3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; 4 what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them? 5 Yet you have made them a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honor.
(Note: Robin calls this his "Signature Sermon" meaning that he believes this sermon covers a topic he considers central to his ministry. The ideas in this sermon will be further explored in a book he will soon publish entitled: Saving Jesus from the Church: How to Stop Worshipping Christ and Start Following Jesus.)
The doctrine of Original Sin, that humans are born sinful and sin because its in our nature to do so, has been a disaster for humanity, but great for the church. The church can claim that humanity has a problem and that it has the only solution. This gives the church a franchise on salvation.
The doctrine of Original Sin is not to be found in either the Hebrew scriptures or the Gospels. We largely get the idea from Augustine who wished to take away any idea of Free Will.
What if the idea of Original Sin is not true? What if there is no final judgment? No hell? What if faith is not a matter of believing certain ideas we know probably are not true in order to enjoy a reward we think is probably not real? What if faith is a matter of deep trust in a way of life rather than belief in doctrines?
Jesus wanted followers, not fans.
We must be mindful of our blessing of being born in the image of God, our Orginal Blessing, and the responsbility placed on us because of that blessing.
Original Sin promotes the idea that we all fail. When one projects failure, one determines failure. The person who does not love herself wisely and well will make a casualty of his neighbor.
We use humaness to explain failure. "To ere is human, to forgive, divine."--Alexander Pope. But is not our successes also due to our humanity? If we failed due to our humanity, who were we when we succeeded?
God made you and me, and when God did this, God created a masterpiece.
Each of us is a piece of God. The wonderful Latin phrase for this is the imago Dei. We should live up to our inheritance, not down to our sickness.
Prayer of Confession: Lord of Life, we too often forget that each one of us is a child of God. We may be imperfect, but we participate in the Divine Perfection. We have made mistakes, but we are not a Mistake. Help us to remember that we are born, not to Original Sin, but as a part of the Original Blessing. In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, our Teacher and Lord we pray, Amen.
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