Monday, February 8, 2010

Saved by a Sinner

I was listening to A Prairie Home Companion the other night.  In Garrison Keillor's News from Lake Wobegon, he talked about a young boy being lost, one bitterly cold night, after being separated from his camping group.  The Minnesota temperature had dipped well below freezing and the snowy ground was frozen into an icy tundra. He was found by his drunken uncle and taken back to the uncle's hunting cabin to warm up.  The uncle, the black sheep of the family, had been banished to the cabin by his wife for a variety of unforgivable offenses.  Garrison Keillor said the boy realized he was being saved by a sinner

If you believe that all humans are imperfect, then every time someone is saved they are being saved by a sinner.  You may not like the word sinner, but in my mind it just means someone who is a work in progress.  Aren't we all?

But if you look at a person who is really down on his luck, after living a life of 'sin' (however you wish to define it), then it seems likely he might feel a stronger need to redeem himself through an act of kindness.  But, in truth, his desire may not be any stronger than another man who has seemingly lived a very pious, christian life. What truths lie in the hearts of men are only known to them. 

In the story, the uncle wonders if his act will prove fruitful.  He hopes the boy will grows up and make something of himself, thus ensuring the act will have redemptive value.  But I believe good deeds have inherent value both to the giver and receiver;  the redemptive part is beyond our control. We must simply act and continue living, each of us an imperfect work in progress.

1 comment:

  1. I like the thoughts in this one very much. It gives a new meaning to the idea of "living in the moment" which we are told we should do. If so, what has happened in the past does not matter. What you do now does. Someone who has sinned is not a sinner any more than anyone else at this immediate moment. What matters is what we do NOW.