If We Say We Have No Sin

“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sin, then God who is faithful and just will forgive our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

You have heard that in worship. Most Presbyterian churches have a prayer of confession every week because we need it. We know that there is evil in the world and that there are evil sentiments in us. Every week we remind ourselves of our need to confess and of the ever-present promise of God to forgive us. We have the seal of that promise in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

We have seen the sin in ourselves as individuals and as a nation burst into full bloom this spring, this week, and this day.

Pride which manifests itself in the arrogance of thinking that a virus will not find me and I do not need to be cautious to protect others and that I have nothing to do with racial animosity that leads to murder.

Greed among people like us that has led others into sin as they see what we have stored up in our barns that will not go with us when we meet or maker.

Wrath as we grow angry watching others express their anger and longing and impatience in righteous and unrighteous ways.

Envy that leads us to long for a time that seemed simpler or purer but, in fact, only hid the evils of racism and injustice and inattention to the fact that the world is a dangerous place.

Lust that leads us to crave a normal life so strongly that we risk the lives of others as we venture out; and to condemn all of those who raise their voices in anger over centuries of oppression and murder whether they do so peacefully or not.

Gluttony that made us clean out the shelves of stores of essentials because we could afford to do so, leaving others wondering how they would make it through the day.

Sloth that will be ever-present again in our complacency that will arise when this current spate of violence and protest and longing for a better way quiets down and goes back to a simmering boil.

Chicago is burning, not for the first time and not for the last time. A virus that threatens us all still roams the streets along with those who peacefully protest and those who show the true depth of the sinfulness that lurks within each one of us.

Let us pray for forgiveness for the sin that is in us, looking to the log in our own eye before we examine the mote in the eyes of our neighbors.

Let us remember that we were imprisoned and guarded by the law until faith came in the form of Jesus. In Christ Jesus, we are all children of God through faith. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no longer male and female, for we are all one in Christ Jesus.

Let us call ourselves to look to the great cloud of witnesses who have gone before us, confessing their own sin, moving in new directions, so that we might lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely so that we might run the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus.

Our call is to be a people of hope in Jesus Christ. Let us claim that hope for ourselves, let us confess our sin, let us respond to our salvation by living as new people.

“For anyone who is in Christ is a new creation. The old life is gone; a new life has begun.”
The Rev. Susan (Sue) Krummel
Executive Presbyter, Presbytery of Chicago