From: Influence and Reception, by Thomas Treadwell Stone
"That this great fact of influence may come to us, however, in the fulness of its practical effects, it is necessary that we obey the corresponding law of reception...Always the blessedness of the free communication depends on the unobstructed freedom of the reception. Nor does anything hinder this freedom, save as sin interposes itself between the Lord in his glory and man in his darkness. Whence, to put away sin, to abandon everything which we perceive to be evil and false, is the first and necessary condition of knowing the divine gift...When this is done, all is done; the only obstruction is romoved, the only cloud dissolved, the one eclipse which shaded the spirit passed off: there stands the undimmed sun, here rests the day, and that day is Sabbath. "
We are reluctant to speak the word sin because of the many psychological (and physical) abuses that have been perpetrated in its name. And yet, it speaks to a reality in my life and, I believe, a reality in all human life. It is important to feel the shift that Stone and most of the Boston Unitarians made in talking of sin. Instead of thoughts, words and deeds that make God angry and cause his retribution, Stone speaks of sin as creating a barrier that hinders our reception of the Divine truth and love. Reception, not retribution. This is, at least for me, a shift dramatic and deeply true.