|Yes, this fish exists...|
In college I went to the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. I am not much of a history buff so I thought I would be bored, but I ended up being drawn in by the deep sea exhibit. As I wandered through the exhibit gaping at the ugly, otherworldly creatures that inhabit the deepest areas of our oceans, I thought, "If God exists, He definitely is creative and has a sense of humor." Just gazing at these absurd creatures made me laugh. (I think someone needs to write a proof for God based on the humor in nature, but I digress...)
So where do these creatures hang out? Well, the deepest part of the ocean is the Mariana Trench near Japan. If Mount Everest were put in this trench there would still be over 7,000 feet of water above it! That is just astounding to me. There is another world in our oceans, with creepy looking creatures floating around, and we think we know it all!
In the book of the prophet Micah, we are told that God does not persist in anger when we sin. Rather, He casts our sins into "the depths of the sea."
When we read Scripture, do we ever pause and sit with the literal sense of things? Of course, Scripture is meant to be read in the literal and the spiritual sense, but often we just skip right to the spiritual when God has treasures for us in the literal.
The other day I sat with the image of God throwing my sins into the depths of the ocean. I gave Him the deepest, darkest memories of my sin and He threw them with all his might into the ocean. I imagined my sins sinking at the speed of a bullet, far from me, far from my memory and His. (Then I imagined my sins floating by those creepy fish and my meditation got a little weirder but again I digress....)
Do we believe in God's mercy?
I thought I did but the more aware I become of my own sinfulness, the more aware I am of God's unending mercy. I know it sounds negative to talk about sin all the time but (most) Christians do not speak of sin in an attempt to make people feel terrible and guilty. Of course, there will be times we should feel deep remorse for what we have done wrong, but that is not what the whole of Christianity is about.
In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus exhorts us, "Repent, and believe in the gospel." (Mk 1:15)
Jesus makes it clear that repentance is a necessary first step. Why? So, we can fully experience God's mercy and goodness. If we don't think we are sinners then Christianity loses its meaning (hence much of modern atheistic culture). When we buy into the lie that we are not sinners it does not make us better, it just makes us conflicted, miserable liars.
But Christians are not yelling "Sin!" because we want to stop there. Christianity is about the next step.
Yes, we need to recognize that we sin in order to experience the truth of who we are but after we recognize our sinfulness it is so important to move to God's goodness - that is what the Gospel is all about!
This is the Good News of Jesus:
God forgives our sins.
He died to forgive our sins.
(And He throws them into the deep sea to chill with creepy fish)