If you read the last post and are anything like me, you went straight to google to find out what the term "sin eater" means. A short definition from the freedictionary.com, states a sin eater is "a man who (according to a former practice in England) for a small gratuity ate a piece of bread laid on the chest of a dead person, whereby he was supposed to have taken the sins of the dead person upon himself."
I must admit after learning the definition, I wondered why I felt called to buy a book about sin eaters. The visuals I was conjuring up in my head to go along with the definition certainly creeped me out. In the last post, I discussed how the book "Walking With The Sin Eater" has finally helped me realize why I keep drawing lemniscates. It has also helped me learn the meaning of several herbs/flower essences I have felt drawn to lately, such as chicory, garlic, fennel and juniper. And more than all of that, it has me pondering religion and some of the beliefs I've had all of my life.
I mentioned in an earlier blog that I have been unable to find a church to fit my evolving spiritual views. I feel closer to God than I ever have before, but at the same time I find myself appalled at some of the things that are done in His name. All of the lives that have been lost over religious disagreement, the money spent on lavish churches when it could have been spent elsewhere, ego driven leaders that are more interested in power than in living a "Christian" way, all have made me question where I fit in with my spiritual beliefs. I'm starting to realize that my connection with God is something only I can discover, it is not something that I need to be interpreted for me or have someone else tell me what I should believe.
The book brings up the point that maybe even Jesus was sick of what was going on in his name. "Be like me, act in the ways that I act, but do not give your power to me or others, or feel that you must become part of a movement where I am all that matters."
As I pondered this idea today, feeling somewhat like a heretic, I had an invitation to visit a new church with a friend. The theme of the church for the next few weeks is "Re- Start", and my friend and I both felt the message was appropriate for me. I did enjoy the church, and I will probably go back again. During the sermon, the minister talked about the great chasm that sin creates between us and God, and the only way to bridge that chasm is through Jesus Christ. Do I really believe there is a chasm between God and I? What do I believe? I sent up a prayer asking God to give me some guidance. Is it really ok to feel what I'm feeling? Can I connect with Him as well on my own as I can through a church? Do I need to be told what to believe, or to have passages of the bible interpreted for me?
Believe it or not, I think I actually received an answer to my prayer, and it came in the very next song. I had an idea a few months ago to start my own "fellowship", if you will. Since I couldn't find a church that I enjoyed attending, I thought I would start my own group of like minded people. I planned to call it the "Amazing Grace" fellowship. I actually had one meeting, but then the busy-ness of life took over and it fell by the wayside.
If you haven't guessed it already, the song that followed my prayer was Amazing Grace. Coincidence, synchronicity, or sign? I'll leave that for you to decide, but I certainly know what I believe.