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Sin that Separates

Leviticus 4:27-31; John 3:16

February 21, 2021—Andover Newton Seminary at Yale Divinity School

Daily Lenten Devotional 2021

Dennis the Menace is often depicted sitting facing the wall while defying his parents. Misbehaving is often awarded with being separated from the rest of the family. When once a loving relationship ends, we think about a broken heart jaggedly split in two. And recently when the inhumane and cruel immigration policy of separating children from their parents at the southern US border as a deterrent for immigration was in effect, we see how separation from loved ones is contrary to basic human decency. Mass incarceration is yet another form of unjust separation in America today. Be apart is a terrible state of life.

When we do something wrong to someone, it separates us from one another. No longer is there care, concern and trust. Making up with that person is the only way to reconnect the separation leading toward reconciliation. 

In Leviticus 4:27-31, we see that ordinary people having even unintentionally did something wrong against God should present a purification offering in order to be welcomed back into community. The people were so worried about sinning against God that even the sins they were not aware of that they were willing to become purified because separation was abhorrent and being in relationship with God was life-giving. 

In Lent, consider the broken relationships that have separated you from people. How might you begin to move toward reconciling these relationships?

The Good News of Jesus Christ is captured in John 3:16. Instead of a burnt offering, God loves the world so much that he gave his own Son, Jesus Christ to die on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins, all of the wrongdoing that we have done toward one another and against God. And when we believe this, God’s promise is that we would never, ever be separated from God’s love because we would have eternal life with God. 

Read Related Sermon  2021 Advent Reflection Series, Week 4

In Lent, consider your relationship with the Creator God. Have other forms of idolatry consumed your heart that are pushing you away from God? How might you begin to name these distractions in order to redirect your attention on God?

Let us pray. Lord, forgive us for our sins that have separated us from each other and sins that have turned our eyes away from you. You created us to be in loving and caring relationships according to your plan. Forgive us for our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass us. In the name of Christ who restored our relationship with you, we pray. Amen.

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