Have you ever carried something really heavy for a while and then put down? Do you remember that moment when you put it down? That feeling of freedom?
That is should be just a taste of the feeling that the Psalmist brings out:
The one whose wrongdoing is forgiven,
whose sin is covered over,
is truly happy!
The one the LORD
doesn’t consider guilty—
in whose spirit there is no dishonesty—
that one is truly happy!
For many Christians, they actually don’t have that release. Those who grew up in the church may have never had the kind of life they perceived as such a gap between themselves and God. Others came to faith through intellectual decisions. As such, they often cannot grasp that feeling either. Another group is the one that cannot forgive itself and so struggles to accept the forgiveness that God has given.
Lent is a definitely a time to process our mortality and sin which brought death into the world. However, the intent is not to be morbid, it is meant to free us. While we focus on this during Lent, we all (I think) know what ends Lent. At the end of Lent is the freeing from the burdens of sin and death.
The end is what makes the Lent-ing do-able, worthwhile, and not-so morbid.
Perhaps the invalid was like so many of us in our hearts, faithful to and trusting of God, but something was missing to connect. Maybe it wasn’t just to the legal experts he was speaking to. Perhaps the invalid needed to understand what exactly was meant. His burden was lifted. He was lifted. His sins were forgiven.
Does being free of you sins really feel (or did it feel) as if a burden was lifted? If not, why not?
Lord, help us to be weighed down by our sins and our mortality so that we experience (or experience again) the freedom of our burdens lifted by you. Amen.