I've written a little gospel presentation on Emma's site. It's for anyone but I've had in mind younger folk who have difficult relationships with food and their bodies. It's called Good News for Dark Places.
It's raised the question in my mind - how do we address the problem of sin with those who might well be very religious and already they are full of self-destructive feelings?
It's important in any setting - but here it's particularly vital - to define sin as a failure to receive. I don't think you'll do much good in pastoral settings if you're not convinced that sin is, at base, not receiving from God. Let me know what you think...
[I've just described the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in loving union]...
This is who the real God is – a community of love and absolute togetherness. In fact their life together is too good to keep to themselves. They want to share it with others.
So this God made something else – a world – so that we can share in this life. We exist so that we can pull up a chair at the table. The meaning of our lives is to join this Party.
But there’s a problem, and it goes back to our first parents. Humanity has always said to God: “No, I’ll make it on my own.”
God is a family of love, but we prefer our own company. God is a fountain of life but we go off and dig for mud. God is a community of light, and we slink off into darkness.
It’s so easy for us to think of God as a kill-joy. But this God is not the kill-joy, it’s us. We are offered the deepest relationship and joy possible but we have refused it. We close ourselves off and will not receive His love. This is the essence of our problem - what the bible calls 'sin'.
Many people think that sin is about doing naughty things - as though it's basically about what we offer or don’t offer to God. The Bible has a different take. God isn't needy! He's the Giver. So at the heart of it, sin is us refusing to receive from God. Do you see the difference? It's not so much that I'm a bad offerer, I'm a bad receiver. My problem's not so much how I perform for Him, my problem is not resting in Him.
Sin is closing ourselves off to the life of God so that now we manage out of our own resources. And so, as sinners, we’re condemned to live our lives cut off from His life.