Sunday’s Old Testament reading (Leviticus) isn’t just about old school public health. Back then, there was an idea that the outside reflected the inside. If I’m unclean on the outside, it’s because I’m unclean on the inside.
A related idea was that illness, disease, misfortune, poverty, etc., were caused by sin. If I’m suffering, it’s because I did something bad. I deserve what’s happening to me.
For someone who’s already suffering, that perspective just makes things harder. It’s jumping on top of someone who’s already down. In football it’s called piling on, and there’s a penalty for doing it.
While illness and misfortune aren’t connected to sin, the reading does point to something that is completely connected to sin. Separation. Sin separates – it separates us from God, and from each other.
More on this tomorrow.