Sins of the Fathers


Sins of the Fathers[1]

The rays of Easter sunrise still shine through the outstretched arms of invitation. The light still shines in the darkness, and the darkness can not extinguish it. Yet this week, the cold fingers of darkness still sent a shiver. Innocence silenced, as fuel, devoured in fires of consumption. I read the news and I am sickened; body and soul. At first, I distance myself, making it an ‘us’ and ‘them’ issue. But as the ashes from my own pyre fall around me, I wonder what we are willing to burn on our alters of self.

The image of my niece sleeping sweet in my arms, innocent, harmless; it lingers. This image is juxtapositioned with my own children playing nearby. So much older. Darling still, but innocent and harmless? Not always. They started out as she did; and then they grew. They gained knowledge and power to assert their own will. A slow transition, happening over time; subtle.

Without loving intervention and training, a little baby will become a defiant, tantruming toddler, a belligerent child, a reckless adult. And I wonder. Do we treat sin like a baby? Do we coddle and cuddle it, supposing it to be innocent and harmless? Do we enjoy it blindly, closing our eyes to where it will eventually lead? Do we make excuses for it in our lives, reluctant to experience the pain of discipline, despite the knowledge that in the pain there is healing?

We dance with the devil and are surprised when the heat of the fire burns us. We hold tight to carpe diem – our need to seize the day for self. Stumbling along the pathway to death, we come to the precipice and recoil in horror at the holocaust of mass graves strewn about the base. We wonder how it came to this. And still, we hold close our pretty little sin, and stroke it lovingly.

What if we exchanged the “I” of carpe diem for the “U” of Carpe Deum – seizing God? What if we grabbed hold of those outstretched arms of Emmanuel, God with us, and refused to let go? What if we chased righteousness breathlessly?[2] What if our response to being chosen by God, was to choose to be in His presence?[3] What if we really sought to know this God who proclaimed His own name, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.”[4]

Emmanuel still stands arms open wide; this week I saw Him with tears pouring down His cheeks, begging us to throw our sin babies on the fire instead. The fire of God does not devour, it is a cleansing, refining fire; burning away the impurities and imperfections, leaving us with the precious.

What if we threw off the weight of sin that clings so closely and entangles, and just ran our race? Fixing our eyes on Jesus.[5]

* This essay is in response to the news last week that aborted fetus’ were included in ‘medical waste’ and being burned as a source of fuel for power, both in Oregon and the United Kingdom


[1] Title borrowed from the book written by Will Cunningham, published by Thomas Nelson Publishers 1997. In his dedication, Cunningham writes, “to all who believe, as I do, that abortion unchecked will come back around to haunt us.” The novel is set in the United States in a futuristic society were citizens are terminated for the greater good. A thought provoking, haunting read.

[2] Weber, Carolyn, “Holy is the Day: Living in the Gift of the Present,” pg 99-100, InterVarsity Press, 2013

[3] Ibid

[4] Exodus 34:5-7

[5] Hebrews 12:1-2

4 thoughts on “Sins of the Fathers

  1. I did not read this at first, because it was too much to face the truth that aborted babies are thrown away as garbage and forgotten, even burned. Thank-you for not judging others sin, but shining the light within yourself. How do we get from here to there? It is not one big leap of horrific sin, rather tiny little steps down a path where we get lost. Otherwise the Holocaust would never have happened, and now it seems we are blind to the holocaust of the unborn.


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