June 12 Sermon "Check Your Sin Statistics"
Today's message is based on Luke 7: 36-50 (a good accompany reading from today is 2 Samuel 11:26-12:15)

Some of you know by now that I am a Chicago Cubs fan (why is another story)
Last weekend I was in Chicago with two of my sons to see a couple Cubs games.
We went to beautiful Wrigley Field, where the Cubs won both games.
They have the best record in baseball this season and its really been appreciated.

To know why Cubs fans are so grateful, you have to know and talk about their history.
For years they’ve been one of the worst teams and not won a World Series since 1908
They lost so often that it sort of became a joke among baseball fans and analysts.
They even had been given the tag by the baseball world as;…those ‘Loveable Losers’.

The New York Yankees, on the other hand, are pretty much always expected to win.
In fact, a season without a World Series victory or at least appearance, is a bad year.
Since the Cubs won that World Series over 100 years ago, the Yankees have won 27!
You could even say for the Yankees and their fans, winning might be taken for granted.

In our Gospel reading from Luke this morning, we heard about a terribly sinful woman.
In fact, Jesus’ Pharisee friend said that she was one of the worst sinners in town.
And so he and others wanted to know why Jesus even allowed her near him.
They also wondered and asked him why he was so ready to forgive her many sins.

Meanwhile, the woman is showering Jesus with grateful love and affection.
She is even crying in her extreme happiness that the Son of God has pardoned her.
Jesus then turns to his host and says, ‘yes, she has shown her great appreciation,… but since I arrived here you have basically shown me no appreciation’.
So why the difference between her reaction to Jesus grace (forgiveness) and theirs?

Very simply, as Jesus states, - she has much to be grateful and appreciative for.
She has committed many sins and so to be totally forgiven by God is a great gift.
The acquaintances of Jesus, on the other hand, don’t see themselves as such bad guys
Therefore, any kind of forgiveness he might offer is not such a big deal to them.
They would kind of take it for granted, and so they don’t appreciate God’s grace.

If you’re a baseball fan, you know that much of the game is all about the numbers.
Years ago, a players stats could basically fit on the back of a bubblegum card.
But today, they keep stats (analytics) so that everything about of a player is revealed.
This tends to give us a clearer insight into their true abilities as well as all their flaws

So if we think of the people in this story that way, according to the statistics kept,….
the woman’s sins were so obvious and great, that she could not hide them.
She realizes her sins were many and thus considers forgiveness a great gift from God.

Yet Jesus Pharisee ‘friends’ do not honestly consider their own sinfulness.
That is why they do not show Jesus much affection, let alone adoration.
The Pharisees believed that they were better than others and that their sins were few.

But once they crunch some number for themselves,…they’d see that the statistics will show many sins in their lives to be accountable for.
That they too have much to be forgiven for.
Only then will they also be immensely grateful and appreciative for Jesus’ forgiveness.

One of the basic commandments is to love God and being grateful enhances that love.
But I think sometimes our love for God in Christ can be kind of lukewarm.
That’s mostly because we haven’t really looked at and crunched our own numbers.
We often tend to end up feeling more like the Pharisee friends of Jesus.
But once we do all our own statistical analysis, we’ll see we’re more like the woman.

Pursuant to this lesson, I did some soul searching about myself.
I often consider myself like one of those Pharisees, who saw his sins as few and minor.
I knew the back of my bubble gum card had some bad statistics,…but nothing serious.
But when I dug further and a deeper, I found many more errors that I have made.
Facts I had either forgotten or had pooh poohed, but….as they say.… stats don’t lie.

If you can equate sins with losing….then we are all more like the Cubs than Yankees.
The Yankees see themselves as winners, so the gift of winning isn’t such a grand thing.
The Cubs, having so many loses, appreciate the gift of winning and love it even more.

Same is true with us and the record of our sins and the forgiveness that Jesus brings.
We all have a lot more bad stats and bad seasons than we’d like to admit.
If we say we have no sin, or they aren’t that bad,…we deceive ourselves.
Not only that, but our love for and gratefulness to Christ can end up a little tepid.
But if we truly crunch our numbers, we’ll appreciate forgiveness and love God more.

So if you’re a Cubs fan or Yankees fan or no fan at all,…it does not matter.
What does matter is that we can grow to love and appreciate God and Jesus more.
Not by trying harder to love him, but by more fully considering and seeing our own sins.
But knowing that, we are God’s lovable losers whom Jesus has made forgiven winners.

Amen