I've never been a big fan of Easter. It depresses me and I have kept that to myself for years for fear of being hit by lightening. I grew up amidst the pews where hell fire and brimstone rained down on sinners weekly. Every Sunday for at least an hour, those who sat on the pews were reminded with verbosity of their woeful estate. Being young, sensitive, and impressionable, it stuck with me. All that haranguing about the awfulness of humans echoes in my head reaching a crescendo at Easter.
This year especially, I struggle with the awfulness and beauty of humans, the response of the corporate church, and the behaviour of believers in our world. I hesitate to identify with Christians because I am ashamed, not of my faith but of the actions and words of others who claim to hold precious the same beliefs. The sky has been more grey than blue for months now and I realize, I am tired of winter. The tiredness has seeped into my soul. So, when the local church decided to focus on the seven deadly sins for Lent, I stayed away more than I attended.
Staying away was an act of self-preservation, there was no point in slipping any further into an abyss of despair. However, it occurred to me that after all the hours I had spent in church, I couldn't name the seven deadly sins. Curiosity percolated for weeks, and finally I googled the phrase. Then I laughed. Wikipedia comes up at the top of the search and lists eight sins, not seven. If you weren't depressed by the possibility of seven sins, eight might push you over the edge of the sin-o-meter of despair. Scrolling through the search led me to a link where I could discover my own deadly sin. I was sorely tempted to take the quiz except the page looked sketchy. All that was available there was confirmation of my main sin from a questionable source and the possibility of a computer virus from another sinner, so I skipped that.
There was lots of variety available within the deadly sins search results. Harvard Business Review had an article on the seven deadly sins of management. Having spent some time in management, I was confident seven sins wouldn't cover the wrongs people commit in that capacity. The Atlantic posted an article in 2016 aligning the various social media networks with the seven deadly sins. It was an interesting read and seemed to hit the right notes. Pope Gregory 1, came up with the sins list around 600 A.D. according to BibleInfo.com. He must have been a cheery soul, putting all that energy into making a list of the ways you could permanently separate yourself from God.
After Pope Gregory 1 had his say, others went back to the ancient texts and determined that nowhere in the bible were the sins listed. The closest to a listing of the sins was a text in Proverbs. I was glad I had undertaken the search, my spirit felt lighter. I was reminded that many humans need a framework they can grab hold of and declare as truth, but it doesn't mean they have the truth. I saw how wrong we can be when we try to fit God into our boxes. I was encouraged by the magnitude, complexity, and love of our Creator. If you need some beautiful music to encourage you, listen to The King of the World, by Natalie Grant. Then go have a good Easter, with the certainty that we might not have all the answers and it doesn't matter.