Anyway, I know enough about sin to know it ought to be avoided, as in "he who sups with the devil had better use a long spoon." I know the seven deadlies inside out and forwards and backwards, love 'em, in fact. I'm more than aware of the beguiling potency of Satan's dastardly whisperings--I hear 'em regularly. I know dang well what it means to "go wrong." I know sorrow, repentance, and re-commitment. I could pipe you a testimony.
All that having been said, this morning, in my sin, I couldn't be more blissful. It's dark in this room, this dining room, and the chair I'm sitting in isn't exactly the most receptive to my considerable backside. Right now, early in the morning, there's absolutely nothing outside the windows, black as night because it is. All around, I can't see a single light; it's that dark. My wife says she likes it that way, but she grew up yard-light-less on a farm. For years she had trouble falling asleep if she could see even the faintest outline of her hand in front of her face.
But right now, she's curled up in bed just a room away, sleeping like a sweet sliver of pink quartzite, out cold in the radiant darkness all around us.
We're up north. We're at a cabin we rent, and just outside the window and through a bank of pines and hardwoods lies a bay of Leech Lake. I know it's out there, even though I can't see it, and that it is out there, that's joy.
Even though I'm sinning.
Today, back in Iowa, on the edge of the Great Plains, 23 students in a lit class titled American Literature I are not going to the classroom because their sainted prof done fell from grace. He just up and left, lit out for the wilderness. And he shouldn't have. I'm sure they don't mind.
Every year we get orders from headquarters beseeching us, imploring us, commanding us not to tolerate any student's early departure for what's called "Tri-State." Keep the sinners home until they get all the green light. Every year, my colleagues shake their heads apocalyptically when they recite the unrighteousness of scores of students, brazen sinners, who leave early anyway.
This year, my last, you may count me among the fallen. I took off early. Go ahead, sharpen the guillotine.
I left early.
And I'm not asking for forgiveness either. Let grace abound, I say.
This morning, up here on water, the hardwoods all around starting to glow now like a palette of gorgeous bronze-y earth tones, I'm actually glorying in my iniquity.
I'm loving it.
I'm as human, as sinful, as any other mortal, because I can't help say what most every sinner does at sometime or another--how can I repent of something so beautiful?
This morning, a day early, I'm up north, among the Garrison Keillor's Minnesota Lutherans, where, following Luther's own dictum, I'm sinning boldly.
Amen and amen.