The word for this week is “Sin.”
I appreciate Frederick Buechner’s take on sin. He says it is “centrifugal.” Constantly spinning in our lives and pushing everything in our lives “out toward the periphery…eventually bits and pieces of the core itself go flying off until in the end nothing at all is left.” Or as Paul notes, “The wages of sin is death.”
Another way to think about how sin chips away at our lives is to consider the largest living thing ever found. The Armillaria Ostoyae, or “Honey Mushroom,” is hundreds of acres in circumference. Long ago, in Oregon’s Malheur National Forest, it began as a single microscopic spore. For over 2,400 hundred years it has been weaving black shoestring filaments through the forest killing trees as it grows.
“When you’re on the ground, you don’t notice the pattern. You just see dead trees in clusters,” says a botanist with the United States Forest Service. In the roots of the affected tree, researchers find something that looks like white latex paint. These are mats of mycelium, which draw water and carbohydrates from the tree to feed the fungus and interfere with the tree’s absorption of nutrients. The shoestring filaments, called rhizomorphs, stretch as much as ten feet into the soil, invading tree roots through a combination of pressure and enzyme action.
Like centrifugal force, or the honey mushroom, sin has the ability to eat away at us until there is nothing left. Paul also tells us that we all sin and “fall short of the glory of God.” The he reminds us of the tremendous gift of grace that is Jesus Christ that redeems us from this decaying force of sin.
Join us in worship Sunday as we take up our word for the week – “Sin” – through the lens of Paul’s words in Romans 3:21-26.