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One of my favorite confessions of sin is from a short poem called "Thread," by Dan Chiasson. "I am frayed where it would be highly useful," he writes, "to make a point."

Many people, perhaps most, are at least vaguely aware of one of the consequences of human sin. Our lives—to some degree our whole selves—become frayed. Sin lies at the heart of our discontent. It is the cause of our restlessness. As a result, we experience a myriad of feelings rooted in alienation (a fancy word for being frayed)—loneliness, regret, shame, meaninglessness.

Most of all, we experience a general anxiety called guilt. Guilt is a vague sense that we are frayed in precisely the parts of us where it would be most helpful to make a point. 

John 14:20 might be viewed as a description of redemption, God’s gracious response to human sin. "I am in my Father." "You are in me." "I am in you." Perhaps this is a way to portray the promise of a redeemed human life concentrated into a specific point—Jesus Christ. In communion with Father, Son, and Spirit, all that is frayed in us begins once again to “make a point.”

Mark Ralls

Mark Ralls is senior minister of Centenary United Methodist Church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

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