It’s time in New England to start building up one’s supply of firewood for the coming winter. When I take my axe in hand I feel like one of the ants and not the grasshopper who played his fiddle. I have done my fiddling for the year. It is time to pay attention to the calendar. It feels very manly to raise the axe overhead and bring it down on a nice round of maple. It is a game to see if I can hit the mark for which I am aiming. When I miss I hope no one was watching. One would not want to hold the round of maple unless they have an excellent surgeon standing by.
It must hark back to Greek class in the seminary so long ago, but I can’t do this without thinking of “hamartia.” “Hamartia” is one of the first Greek vocabulary words we learned. It means to miss the mark. Paul often uses it for the English word “sin.” There is something almost comforting about “hamartia.” It might indicate one was trying to do what was right and just missed the standard. However, Paul does use the word in Hebrews 10:26, “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, . . .” In this verse it doesn’t sound like one is trying and therefore there is no forgiveness. It is true we are saved by grace and all can be forgiven but we cannot spit on God’s grace by deliberately missing the mark. Jesus offers to help us with our aim.
Just some thoughts while chopping wood on a September afternoon.
Written by Roger Bothwell on September 17, 2015
PO Box 124, St. Helena, CA 94574