THE VILLAGE SIN EATER

Welcome to Roger’s Take on Religion: An Inclusive Perspective

In some 18th century English towns, when a loved one died the family would place bread on the chest of the deceased to soak up his sins. A non-family member would then eat the bread, taking on the sins of the departed so he could enter easy-breezy into the afterlife.

The one who ate the bread and consumed the countless ill deeds of others was known as the village sin eater. He was neither well paid nor well respected but always well fed.

Here’s My Take: Many of us assume similar roles – that of ingesting shortcomings, whether of friends, lovers or politicians. It’s our calling.

In the Christian tradition, Lent (the 40 days before Easter), is a time of fasting. Last night I heard a sermon about how Jesus chose to take on the sins of the world so that we might live sin-free. He even ate the bread (and drank the wine) prior to his dying.

For Lent, perhaps we should all give up the bread and leave the sin eating to Jesus.

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