Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Water of Grace

I am still pondering the symbol of grace as wave after wave--see my blog with that title. Many of the songs we sang Sunday spoke of grace with all its descriptives: healing grace, saving grace, bold grace, amazing grace, etc.

As I have been thinking about this, I have gone to two of my favorite books : Kathleen Norris's
Amazing Grace, A Vocabulary of Faith and Max Lucado's In the Grip of Grace.

There are still many Christians around who "seem intent on putting the vastness of God into small boxes of their own devising," says Norris. Their vocabularies are full of words like heresy, damnation, evil, wickedness, hell-fire, lostness. Very scary words.

In Romans, Paul is not about those words,. His statement sums it up in Romans 5:8: "But God shows his great love for us in this way: Christ died for us while we were still sinners." Lucado goes on to tell the story of David and Mephibosheth in II Samuel. After David had fought the battle that made him king, he scorned the tradition of exterminating the heirs of the former king Saul. Instead, he took Saul's grandson and Jonathan's son into his home and invited him to his table. As God invites us always sinful sons and daughters to his table.

David writes in Ps. 103: 8-1: " (God) is slow in anger, abounding in love.... as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us."

This is not a passive love where God just sits waiting for us to call; instead he pursues us as David writes in Ps. 139: 9-10: ...if I settle on the far side of the sea (again the water metaphor), even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast." The next few verses speak of times when we go into darkness to hide, God pursues us and shines his light through our darkness.

Lucado responds: "Vagabonds and ragamuffins all, he saw us before we were born. And He loves what he sees. Flooded with emotion. Overcome by pride, the Starmaker turns to us one by one, and says, 'You are my child. I love you dearly. "

"Can anything separate us from the love of God?" Romans 8:35. God's resounding reply as he placed Himself in the womb of a young Jewish girl, is "No, I am the way back from everywhere you may go."

What a promise!

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