Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Make Thy Way Plain Before My Face

this morning as i prepared to read my daily gospel passages, i discovered that the site i use to access those passages was down. i have been reading the gospels in a parallel version so that i can make comparisons between them with the intention of discovering the differences between them and of having a more complete picture of Jesus' life. i am nearing the end of that process, having reached the point at which Jesus dies on the cross. since i couldn't read as i intended, i decided to take stock of what comes next and where my heart is leading me in my studies.

i plan to do two things: first, to learn as much as i can about what life was like in roman palestine during the lifetime of Jesus, and, second, to explore what "sin" is. in christianity there is such an emphasis on sin, but i don't feel "sinful." i am not overwhelmed with guilt, and that is something about which i am puzzled. when i attend our church service, there is much said about sin. we confess our sins as a congregation, we sing about sin, we hear sermons about sin, we pray for forgiveness from our sins. i'm not sure i understand what "sin" is. is it analogous to the "suffering" of buddhism? are we each "totally depraved?" one of the psalm paraphrases we sometimes sing says, "i am evil, born in sin." is that so? this is a topic i feel compelled to investigate.

here is my plan once i complete my readings of the gospels in parallel: i plan to alternate between studies about life in roman palestine and readings from the new testament about the nature of sin, journaling as i read on both topics. following those studies, i plan to reread each gospel individually, but this time in large "chunks," rather than a few verses at a time. by so doing, i hope to have a broader picture of each gospel, reading each one as a more complete narrative and journaling about what i learn from that approach.

my prayer for each of us this day is that we listen to what our heart tells us, that we pursue what we believe our inner voice, which i believe is that of God in us, is leading us toward, and that we are constantly seeking to learn and grow.

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