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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN



I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you probably are or at least have in the past been infected with something called the "metapneumovirus." According to an AP article out of Chicago, IL, this particular virus, discovered only two years ago, is turning out to be an exceedingly common cause of human misery. Daniel Q. Haley, the author of the article, writes, "Researchers are beginning to piece together the scope of this ubiquitous bug, which now appears to afflict just about everybody, probably over and over. Even though the virus seems to be rarely serious, its omnipresence presence intrigues microbiologists. . . .Experts say the metapneumovirus, which causes respiratory illness, is almost certainly not new but something that has been around for eons" (THE TENNESSEAN, September 17, 2003: "Newly Discovered Virus Has Probably Afflicted Everyone," p 6A).

Let me see now: a ubiquitous and omnipresent bug which afflicts just about everybody over and over again and which has been around for eons. Hmmm. The newly discovered metapneumovirus sounds like another bug that has been bugging us all for a long time. I'm talking about that blasted bug the Bible calls sin. Unlike the metapneumovirus, which researchers say seems to be rarely serious, the virus of sin is always extremely serious. In the words of Scripture, the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23a). Follow sin from the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3 all the way to the place called Golgotha where they crucified Jesus (Mark 15:22-24) and one truth becomes clear: sin is serious stuff. Like the metapneumovirus, it  turns out to be an exceedingly common cause of human misery, only more so, for the damage and death it leaves behind is not to the body only but also to the soul. Sin separated Adam and Eve from God in the Garden. And at Golgotha we see the full price sin finally exacts when Jesus, as He bears the judgement and condemnation of our sin in His own body on the tree of the cross, cries out in Mark 15:34, " 'Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?' which is translated, 'My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?' " What kind of horrible thing is sin that it required the very life and blood of the sinless Son of God, shed through a violent, cruel and excruciating death on a cross, to provide a cure? Something is bugging us and the Bible calls it sin. Human beings made in the image of God act like the devil in multiple ways. People hate and kill and steal, lie and cheat and envy, drink and do drugs and divorce. They are ambitious and angry and commit adultery. They betray their mates, abandon their kids, leave the church, and turn their backs on God. In varying degrees and different ways, sin is the bug that bugs us all. Doesn't that bug you?

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ