Friday, October 15, 2004

There is no other sin than that of being scornful

Roberta Bondi has a helpful reflection on the gospel lesson for Oct. 24th where she quotes a desert Abba who says, "There is no other sin than that of being scornful." Certainly at issue in this Lukan text is the issue of sin and judgment, but the state of being good, or being a sinner, is the over-preached outcome of this pericope. More profound for me today is scorn. Sometimes I think I'm full of it. Full of what feels like futility and frustration at a world run amok; full of the ability to heap so much scorn on those things and people taking our community, their families, our country, our world, in the wrong direction, that I can find no good in them, they, those. Scorn is sin turned outward, so the judgment can be passed by us rather than on us.

It is right and good to give thanks for the good things God accomplishes in our lives. It is an act of faith to confess the sin, the very sin, that we are and do apart from Christ. It is deepest sin to scorn others when, and this is always a profound possibility, the thing we scorn is the very good wrought in them by God. Scorn is, in the end, the complete lack of love.

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