Summary: Through chickens, babel and the ancient Japanese art of Kintsugi, this sermon seeks to unpack the nature of sin, but also how God does not leave us there.
The following sermon was given when I was invited to preach at the nearby church of St Joseph the Worker Northolt on Sunday 10th June 2018
You folks really know how to win friends and influence people. You invite Fr Mund, a more unsuspecting local priest to come and preach, and then you give him passages on SIN… thanks a bunch!
Five themes that emerged for me looking at both the passage from Genesis and from the gospel -
1) Sin sticks to all of us
2) Sin sucks away intimacy
3) Sin seeks to shift the blame
4) Sin sells a lie
5) Sin spirals
But also - (6) sin does not have the final word!
Sin sticks to all of us
a lady went to her butcher to buy a chicken. The honest man put the bird on the scale, announced the weight and was told, “That’s a little small, do you have another one?” He went back to the cooler and found out this chicken was his only chicken. Not wishing to lose the sale, the normally honest butcher took the same chicken, put it on the scale and added a little pressure from his thumb. He shared the new inflated weight with his customer who said, “That’s wonderful, I’ll take them both.” (1)
The butcher could be a very honest man - but it so easy to be tempted into our to doing something wrong. Genesis 3 is the story of original sin - and the point of the story is that like some disease once sin had got into the world we have all caught it. As St Paul writes in Romans 3:23 “all have sinned and falled short of the glory of God”
Look at the Gospel reading - Our Lady and Jesus’s brothers. Our lady who is described elsewhere in the bible as “Blessed among women” and the one whom “all generations shall call blessed”. The first Christian to be filled with the Holy Spirit who comes upon her at the conception of Jesus. Our Lady present on the day of Pentecost when the Spriit came down with the 12 disciples and the the Brothers of Jesus including James. James who will be first bishop of Jerusalem. James who would write a letter of the bible. Yet even these amazing people - When Jesus becomes a bit embarrassing and people are saying he is mad, they try to “restrain him” and stop him doing the work of God.
If even amazing Christians like that can sin, it is not surprising the rest of us do.
Sin sticks to all of us .
2) Sin sucks away intimacy.
If you go around Italy you can find beautiful renaissance statues which two hundred years later had stone fig leafs added to cover the “naughty bits”. But why should Christians be prudish? Renaissance Christians made lots of nudes because if the human form was in the image of God, surely the nude was the highest example of that? Why be embarrassed about sex.
Yet of course these stone fig leaves added to statues of David go back to Genesis 3 and Adam and Eve sow fig leaves together to hide their willies and boobies. Before they ate the apple this first husband and wife had happily wandered unashamed naked around the garden of Eden. But once sin comes into the world they are ashamed. They hide their privates from each other with fig leaves, and try to hide themselves from God among the trees. [duck down below pulpit to mime hiding from God]
Before sin they had total intimacy with each other and total intimacy with God. Now they are trying to hide a part of themselves from a each other and a part of themselves from God. And it is not just the outside part they try to hide. They also hide something of the inside. Sin makes us all put up masks and hide the real selves we were created to be from each other and from God. We were meant to be totally intimate with God and totally intimate with each other Sin sucks that intimacy away
3)Sin seeks to shift the blame
When God catches Adam and Eve eating the one thing he had told them not to eat, what do they do?
Adam blames Eve. Eve blames the snake, and the snake… didn’t have a leg to stand on.
When my friend Andrew started his first job, one day he got hauled into the bosses office to explain why something had gone wrong. Andrew began to real off a list of all the other people whose fault it was and ..
“Look out there!” points his boss excitedly. [mime it]
Andrew turns towards the window.
“It’s a buck flying past” says his boss.