Colossians 2:13-15 13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made youalive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
Several images came to mind for me while reading this passage. First, the story of Dorian Gray, the timeless literary piece about a young man blessed with stunning good looks which eventually consumed him. As the story goes at the time of his prime Dorian sat for a portrait that managed to capture his incredible likeness. Dorian became depressed when faced with the truth (little “t” as Pastor put in the sermon yesterday) that the picture would always be stunning, but he would eventually age and die. In the flesh he wished with all his heart that it could be he that remained handsome and ageless while the portrait took on the inevitable. In the story, the wish was granted and with no consequences for his actions, Dorian went on to live a life of unspeakable sin, crime, and decadence, sneaking glimpses occasionally of the portrait which of course hideously bore the weight of his deeds. But ultimately, all that sin was transferred from the portrait to the flesh and the well-deserved consequences for Dorian’s choices was a very painful end. How would you respond if suddenly there were no consequences for your actions? Would your choices be different than those of the character Dorian Gray? Would GOD forgive?
The second image is one that has become an Ash Wednesday tradition at PoG. If you look very closely at the cross displayed at the left front of the sanctuary of the church you will notice it is covered with holes, more specifically nail holes. Part of the PoG Ash Wednesday tradition involves a station that allows participants to reflect on their sins, write them down on a piece of paper, and nail them to that cross. That cross is indeed holy but are our sins really transferred to that cross?
Laboring very intently just under the surface of both these images is what Pastor calls the 3rd party. The story of Dorian Gray is particularly dark with the presence of a force encouraging selfish indulgence and wickedness. On the faces of those of us who sit at that station on Ash Wednesday and contemplate what we’ve done and what we’ve left undone is the question why? Why do we do these things? Indeed we too have been encouraged to participate in the wiles of the flesh. But, does GOD forgive?
The message of this passage provides the answer and the answer is good news. We are most certainly forgiven, no matter how bad, no matter how many times! Think of the toy “Etch a Sketch” which allows you to create drawings on a slate using knobs and by just flipping it over and shaking it, all of the drawings are gone! The slate is clean, no matter how bad, no matter how many times. We simply cannot out sin the grace of our GOD through the sacrifice of HIS Son JESUS CHRIST!
Great and Magnificent GOD of the universe we thank and praise YOU this Monday morning no matter where we are, no matter what the situation. Remind us that we need not fear or worry because YOU have already handled the consequences; YOU are in charge of the day. Put us in that place LORD that ensures us of YOUR mighty presence and most importantly, YOUR incredible love! In CHRIST name we pray. Amen.