Living in the Unending Shadows of Sin and Death

by Christine Sine
Snow in Anacortes

The view from our motel – Snow in Anacortes

Tom and I are on retreat in Anacortes, looking out on a snow covered landscape. I don’t usually blog while we are away on retreat, but as I contemplated God’s word this morning these thoughts bubbled up within me and I felt I needed to share. Once again I am dipping into Michael Casey’s book Strangers to the City in which he reminds us

This land is most appropriately called the land of the dying because in it nothing is stable, nothing is eternal and the life of human beings is lived in the shadow of death. (87)

Fortunately he goes on to remind us

Our Christian faith however keeps reminding us that death is the doorway to eternal life, so that there is no need to attempt to blot it out of consciousness. (90)

These have been good words for me to meditate on this morning. Not only do we live our lives in the seemingly unending shadow of death but also in the shadow of sin and brokenness. Each day contains many “little deaths”, actions that destroy not build up, times we are hateful not loving, attitudes that favour self over others.

In yesterday’s post I mentioned the Japanese art of Kintsugi in which ceramics are mended with resin infused with gold powder. This is only possible when we recognize something is both broken and valuable. When we pretend that things are not broken they cannot be renewed and transformed. When we think they are unrepairable we throw them out and often miss the beauty of what God wants to create.

Our hope lies in the fact that God offers eternal life not just in the world beyond death but here and now through the renewal of our broken areas into wholeness, through the transformation of our self centred lives into other centred and through the renewal of God’s abiding presence within us. All we need to do is acknowledge our brokenness and need for transformation – Wow imagine what is possible when we give all our broken pieces to God.

It reminds me of the words of Psalm 23 as it is expressed here in The Voice:

The Eternal is my shepherd, He cares for me always.
2 He provides me rest in rich, green fields
beside streams of refreshing water.
He soothes my fears;
3 He makes me whole again,
steering me off worn, hard paths
to roads where truth and righteousness echo His name.

4 Even in the unending shadows of death’s darkness,
I am not overcome by fear.
Because You are with me in those dark moments,
near with Your protection and guidance,
I am comforted.

5 You spread out a table before me,
provisions in the midst of attack from my enemies;
You care for all my needs, anointing my head with soothing, fragrant oil,
filling my cup again and again with Your grace.
6 Certainly Your faithful protection and loving provision will pursue me
where I go, always, everywhere.
I will always be with the Eternal,
in Your house forever. (From Biblegateway.com)

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