Primitive religion is not believed, it is danced!

Arthur Darby Nock

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Elizabeth Browning

Monday, March 26, 2012

Grace and Law

The tension between grace and law in the Christian faith, is a terrifying thing.
We are constantly pulled between the terror of thinking it is all about us
And the joy of realizing that it is really all about God.

Why we cling to tenuously to law, I do not know
Perhaps it is because law is about us
and we are willful people
who somehow think it really is all about us
That some how we can be "self righteous"

But as Gerald May reminds us
Faith is not about being willful
it is about being willing!

It is about being willing to let it be 
all about God
About God's love
God's power
God's righteousness
I come across a lot of people who think they are talking grace
but they are really talking law
perhaps it is the fault of the church
the church is all to often about law not grace
Even if the church has "grace" in its name.

How do we know the difference?
Well, one way to think about it is to think about
where the focus is

So often we hear the word "we"
We must, 
We should
We ought
Probably in the realm of law
not that we should not be good people and do good things

But we can't do it.  What we can do is let God love us
And we can love God.   And we can let the Spirit run rampant 
and be willing to let God make us new
and then as people changed from the inside out
we will be different
 Is the focus on the bad things that will happen if we don't obey
if we don't do the right things?  Law.
If the focus is on how life will be better, if it is on how we can find life richer
and wildly exciting because of what God does in our hearts
we are in the world of grace.
Faith is all about learning how to live,
it is not merely "fire insurance", designed to save us from a really bad afterlife.
Grace is an amazing thing!
and for me it comes down to a phrase I have come to love
God loves me, there is nothing God can do about that
and there is nothing I can do either....
(and the father saw the prodigal child coming down the road... and God threw open his arms and said, "my beloved child.  Once you were lost, now you are found!!  Let's party!)

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