Monday, March 10, 2014

Ragamuffins & Grace

It was on my heart to share this vintage post with you again today in the hope that it will get your week off to a grace-filled start...

Yesterday I shared the words and music of the late Rich Mullins with you. One of his heroes and influnces was the late Brennan Manning. Today's "words to soak in" for Lent are excerpts from the first chapter of Brennan's classic book The Ragamuffin Gospel (1990, Multnomah Press). It could also be called The Official Guide To Grace. In a world so badly in need of grace and forgiveness, we Christians hold the key- the love of God whose name is Jesus. Why are we so slow to share it?

Something is radically wrong.

The Christian community often resembles a Wall Street exchange of works where in the elite are honored and the ordinary ignored. Love is stifled, freedom shackled, and self-righteousness believed. The institutional church has become a wounder of the healers rather than a healer of the wounded... Put bluntly the American Church today accepts grace in theory but denies it in practice.

Our culture has made the word grace impossible to understand. We resonate with slogans such as:
"There's no free lunch."
"You get what you deserve."
"You want love? Earn it."
"You want mercy? Show you deserve it."
"Do unto others before they do it unto you."

Though lip service is paid to the gospel of grace, many Christians live as if it is only personal discipline and self-denial that will mold the perfect me. The emphasis is on what I do rather than on what God is doing.

Our approach to the Christian life is just as absurd as the enthusiastic young man who had just received his plumber's license and was taken to see Niagara Falls. He studied it for a minute and then said, "I think I can fix this." 

We believe that we can pull ourselves up by our bootstraps- indeed, we can do it ourselves. Sooner or later we are confronted with the painful truth of our inadequacy and insufficiency. Our security is shattered and our bootstraps are cut.

We cannot do it alone.  We need Jesus.  God of grace have mercy on us- again.

Because of Jesus,

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for reading,and thanks for your comment!