From the Desktop of the Pastor – Week of the 1st Sunday in Lent

Hi everyone,

So this past Friday as I was preparing a small snack for the kids, I very stupidly used a knife to try to pry two frozen cheese bread snack things apart. What was even stupider (even more than using “stupider” over “more stupid”) was that I grabbed the sharpest knife I could find, because seriously, they were really stuck together. So the sharper the blade, the easier it should be able to cut right in between them, right? Completely slice them apart? I just needed to stab that knife in, pierce it at where the two pieces joined, and they should totally split apart. Well, that’s what I wound up doing.

Cutting my thumb, that is. If the italicized word play up there didn’t give you the hint.

It was pretty bad too, the blood flowed for a good 40 minutes or so. I figured the cut was too short for stitches though (about a cm, also I’ve never had stitches in my life so I’m a total expert on the subject), so I just wrapped a band-aid around it as tight as I could get it one handed. It’s not infected I don’t think, as there is no swelling or unusual redness (again, I’m an expert). It does hurt though, throbbing at first and then now it stings whenever I touch it.

That part is most difficult to manage, because the cut is right on the inner edge of my thumb, the part that is touched most when doing everyday tasks such as picking things up, putting things away, and texting people and playing games on my phone. But you think I’d be able to stop? I just bear the pain like a stupid stupido that was stupider than stupid, and keep doing my regular stuff in spite of the pain telling me to stop and just do something different… or at very least do the same thing but in a different way so it doesn’t cause any pain.

Old habits die hard, I guess. And that muscle memory is hard to unlearn. Also I’m pretty sure a little bit of stupidity comes into play. Go figure.

Here are the readings for next week:
Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7
Psalm 32
Romans 5:12-19
Matthew 4:1-11

These are generally the same texts that we get for every 1st Sunday in Lent. Talk about sin, temptation, and broken contracts. We normally hear about how God has provided something, but human nature somehow wasn’t able to live up to our side of the bargain. And of course, we would get Jesus’ story in the wilderness.

And I think about these things, these temptations and sins, and wonder how many of these do we see in our own lives? How often do we notice our sin and shortcomings? How easily can we admit our succumbing to temptation?

If you’re anything like me, then the answer is like, never. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m pretty good when it comes to living my life. I tread the straight and narrow, I’m pretty obedient, and I have a good sense of right and wrong. So honestly it’s tough for me to see where there is sin or even temptation in my life.

But then I realise that sin isn’t always about being bad or doing bad things or participating in bad activities. It isn’t always about overt wrongs or obvious transgressions. It isn’t always things that stand out like crazy, surrounded by a bunch of red flags so they are somewhat easily avoided.

Sometimes sin is about muscle memory. Doing things how we’ve always done them because they seemed to be ok in the past. Glossing over the pain we might be causing because we didn’t cause pain before so it’s not our fault that there is pain now.

Suddenly, putting it this way, then I begin to see just how sinful I actually am… in so much that I do, so much that I say, and so much how I treat others. And I’m sorry.

But good thing is that there is grace in the midst of it. There is forgiveness. There is salvation from it all.

Thanks be to God! Have a great week, everyone!

Photo by Pastor Nathan of his actual thumb.

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