My brother is two years my senior; and as kids we were fiercely competitive. I remember one day my brother and I were playing croquet in the backyard. He was winning, and rubbing my face in it. I was so mad when I lost the game I threw my croquet mallet (in no particular direction). Well, the second I let go of the mallet I realized there was a serious problem with the trajectory of the throw. It was flying right toward the house, and right toward the dining room window. Time stood still. About the same time as I saw the mallet crashing through the window, I realized that my mother saw the whole thing from the kitchen window. I can’t remember ever seeing my mother’s eyes wider than they were at that moment; and needless to say I was called into the house. I apologized for breaking the window, was lectured by my parents, and summarily punished.
But there was a problem...
The window was still broken...
My parents willingness to forgive my sin in no way repaired the window. The glass was still all over the dining room and someone (my dad) still had to measure the broken frame, go to the hardware store, buy a new window, bring it home, and install it. The reason they bought the window is I was a kid and did not have the money to pay for the window; and even if I had had the money to buy the window, I would not have known how to install the replacement glass.
As children, we have probably all broken things at one time or another that we could not fix due to a lack of money or a lack of know how; and we have probably all had times when our parents fixed what we broke because we were unable to do so. Now that we are adults, however, when we break something we can take care of fixing it ourselves. Or can we?
From the church’s standpoint, whenever we sin, we break ourselves, and damage God’s creation. When we repent of our sin, the damage still remains. Just as a sincere apology cannot pay for or fix a broken window, repentance and contrition for sin cannot, by itself, pay for, or fix the damage we have inflicted on our souls, or on God’s universe. When we sin, even though we repent, the effects of our sin remain; because we do not have the capacity to fix ourselves, or all creation, from the multitudinous ramifications of our sins.
What then are we to do? How are we, and how is the universe, to be repaired from the damage we have inflicted upon it?
The main purpose of Jesus dying on the cross was to pay for our sins. Just as the replacement window cost a certain amount, so too we owe a certain amount because we have sinned against God. But what do we owe for our sins? The Holy Bible reminds us that the wages of sin is death... (Roman 6:23) That is to say, we owe our lives to pay for the damage we have inflicted.
When you think about it, the price we owe because of our sins is reasonable. God in heaven was under no obligation to create the universe, nor did he have to create humanity. Yet in his perfect loving and sharing will he decided to generously create us. He abundantly gave us his life and love. He created us to live in perfect union with him and his creation. Yet we decided not to follow his laws and rebelled against our loving creator. The just punishment for our rebellion would seem to be that the creator simply takes back the life he never had to give us in the first place. Thus, the Bible tells us that the wages of sin is death... but interestingly, rather than requiring our death, God sent his son to pay the price of death for us.
Not only did Jesus’ death on the cross cancel the debt we owed to God, Jesus’ death also gave us the ability to be repaired of our sin as well. As the designer and creator of humanity, Jesus is capable of healing the spiritual damage within us by entering into us spiritually and healing us spiritually. When we faithfully receive Jesus’ body and blood; that is Holy Communion, he enters into us and sanctifies us, making us spiritually clean of all our uncleanliness. The Bible tells us that the blood of Jesus ... cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:7 ) And further, our church hymns remind us that Jesus’ blood is sprinkled throughout the cosmos’, repairing and renewing not only us, but all of God’s creation as well.
The next time you break something think about this; we too are broken in our sins. We could not pay for our sins, so God paid for our sins; and he offers us the ability to be spiritually repaired and renewed in the blood of his son. For this reason, brothers and sisters in Christ, let’s make our regular Sunday reception of Holy Communion a testimony of our thanks to and love for God, who has given us spiritual healing in and through his son Jesus, to whom, together with the Holy Spirit is befitting glory, dominion and honor, now and forever, and unto the ages of ages.