Tempus fugit

Time flies. It has been eleven days since my last posting, and I feel a little guilty for not writing sooner. That almost sounds like a confessional, doesn't it? "Forgive me, Reader, for I have sinned. It has been eleven days since my last blog entry." 

Hmmm... What shall my penance be? 

How about no needhams candies until I get to Maine next week? Nah. There's no penance in that. There are no needhams around here for me to eat anyway. "What are needhams?" you ask. Needhams are kind of like Mounds bars, only better, because they originated in Portland, Maine and they have a secret ingredient near and dear to a true Mainer's heart - mashed potatoes. Yes, mashed potatoes and flaked coconut and dark chocolate - so, so good! There will probably be some homemade needhams in my parents' refrigerator from a lady in the church...

But I digress. 

Penance. I suppose I could abstain from eating molasses donuts for the next week.That would be almost cruel and unusual punishment, except for the fact that the only place I know to get molasses donuts is at Tony's Donut Shop on Congress Street in Portland, Maine, and I won't be there for at least seven days. I wish I could give each of you one of these circular delicacies, so that you could understand how deprived I am, living here in Baltimore, separated by 500 miles from them. I wonder if Tony's will be open when my plane touches down on the tarmac next Wednesday evening?

Still I digress.

Penance. Maybe I should look that word up. Maybe I am going at this the wrong way. I wasn't raised Catholic, so I could be confused.

Okay. According to the Merriam Webster online dictionary, penance is "an act of self-abasement, mortification, or devotion performed to show sorrow or repentance for sin." Mortification? Let's look that word up too. "Mort" is the root of the words mortician and mortuary and mortality and they all have something to do with death. It sounds like maybe I should be killing myself, and I don't think I am up for that. 

Okay. Mortification: "the subjection and denial of bodily passions and appetites by abstinence or self-inflicted pain or discomfort." Phew! I can go on living, but it sounds like I have the options of abstinence from something I like (which is what I thought penance was before) or self-inflicted pain/discomfort. Ugh!

So, self-inflicted pain or discomfort. Hmmm. That would be like forcing myself to eat liver or fish or lamb, or wearing those shoes that hurt my feet, right? Why would I want to do that? Mortification is just not for me, I guess. Self-abasement? Putting myself down? I don't think that is biblical, so I will skip that one too. How about an act of devotion? If I understand this idea correctly, it means that I would do something above and beyond the usual things I "do for God" as payment for my sin. 

Wait a second! Me? Paying for my own sin? Isn't that a joke? Nailing myself to the cross to make everything right? BIG problem. I'm a sinner and my righteousness is filthy rags at best, so my greatest devotion and my lowest groveling and harshest self-punishment mean absolutely nothing.

What does all this mean for my situation? It means I need to receive the grace of God and go on. I confessed my sin and He is faithful and just to forgive my sin because he paid for every one of my sins, past, present, and future. I don't have to give up needhams or donuts, unless I want to be healthier. I put my faith in the Finished Work of Jesus Christ and write my blog entry without guilt for not writing in eleven days. I just sit down and type the words "Tempus fugit" because time flies and there isn't enough time to waste it doing something Christ has already done perfectly, once and for all.

I am so glad Jesus came from heaven, aren't you? That baby whose birth we celebrate this month has made all the difference in the world.

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