Perhaps one of the most convicting stories of human sinfulness is today’s story of Jesus in Gethsemane. As Jesus, the Son of God, the One to whom we’ve pledged not just our lives but our eternities, is wracked with terror, grief, and loneliness, his followers fall asleep. Now I’ve fallen asleep on people in my life. Late night talking with friends at a sleepover, watching a really boring movie with an old flame, even in conversation with my wife in the living room. And I’ve fallen asleep on Jesus before. It used to be that my prayer time each day was before bed, until I realized that I regularly fell asleep in the middle of my prayer, my conversation with Jesus. Someone comforted me with the idea that parents love it when kids fall asleep in their arms. But I could never get over this story.
We argue about what is sin and what isn’t all the time. Is homosexuality a sin? Is drinking a sin? Is having wealth a sin? But we seldom argue about the smaller things that can still be sinful. Is falling asleep on God a sin? Was falling asleep on Jesus in the garden sinful? I guess we have to ask what sin is.
“Sin is all in thought, word, and deed contrary to the will of God,” we recite in Confirmation. Prof. Neill Plantinga defines sin as “anything that is not the way it’s supposed to be”. If something is not fulfilling it’s original purpose as determined by God, then it is sinful. This is an awfully wide span of what is sinful and what isn’t. Sometimes we get worried or touchy about placing so much, even falling asleep, in the sin category. But while the span of sin is large, the good news is that the span of grace is even larger! To hold such a vast view of sin requires us to hold an even vaster view of grace, and that’s the way it’s supposed to be!