But may sinners vanish from the earth
and the wicked be no more.
Praise the Lord, my soul.
Praise the Lord.
Can you imagine it? All the sinners gone? It would be like the Rapture only backwards! There would be no war, no oppression. Justice tempered with mercy for everyone, all the time! It would be God’s kingdom on earth! And I know just exactly who the sinners are that need to get gone! Because obviously I am staying.
Wait, that’s not right. That would be me judging. That would be me deciding I know who is righteously following God’s ways and who is not. That would be me thinking I am not a sinner. That would be me thinking I am God. Which I am not.
For sinners to vanish from the earth each individual would have to root out the sin within themselves. Each one of us would have to ask God to remove all of our sins and defects of character so that we might more readily do as God desires us to do. All of us would have to understand what it truly means to love the neighbor, and be willing to embrace all of God’s children as our own siblings. For sinners to vanish from the earth, every one of us would have to forgive every person and institution who we were angry or resentful at, and every person and institution who had ever harmed us, and every angry, hostile, jealous, and otherwise unloving act and word that we, ourselves, had committed. For the wicked to be no more, we - every single human - would have to cease to be sinners.
Because the sinner is not the other. The sinner is me. Or, as Pogo famously said, “We have met the enemy, and they is us.”
God of all, we ask that you might remove from us all of the sins that keep us separated from you, and from all of your children, our siblings. May our sins vanish from the earth, so that it might truly become your kingdom. Amen