Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Lent, day 5: grace

On the Sunday closest to Epiphany, I shared out 'star words' amongst the congregation, as we thought of the journey of the Magi starwards to Jerusalem.  The word I happened to pick from the offered basket was 'grace', which now sits in the manse study above my desk.  I remember smiling when I saw what word I'd received, for 'grace' is a word I bang on about quite a bit, and also, brings to mind what I love so much about the works of both Augustine and Calvin...and anyone who has hung in there with this blog over time, or who knows me, knows just how misunderstood I think these two guys are.  Rephrasing a song that's been pretty much viral over the last several months, for Augy and Johnny C, it's all 'bout the grace, bout that grace'.
Having journeyed in Advent to Christmas and the crib, now is the season to journey through Lent to the cross and towards the hope of resurrection.  In grace, death is not the end; love wins and hope will have its way.
What then, is it to walk in grace through Lent, and through life, I wonder?
Called as God's own, not of our own doing but through God's limitless grace and mercy, how does the turning of our hearts impact upon our inclinations, our way of being - both within the context of living into the identity of who we are in Christ, and of the effect that this has upon how we are and interact with God, with others, with creation?  As God's workmanship, created for good works in Christ - not works to earn salvation, but works stemming from salvation - what good works flow naturally as a result of grace...both intentional and almost automatically?  But this is not a measuring stick to beat up on one's self, nor is it a competition in order to win a gold star.  That way lies the madness of never measuring up and the harsh, exacting God of Pelagius - and what Augustine and Calvin get so well: the whole point is that we never measure up.  The beauty is, God's grace is more than enough.

But God, who is rich in mercy,
out of the great love with which he loved us
even when we were dead through trespasses,
made us alive together with Christ - 
by grace you have been saved
- and raised us up with him
and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
so that in the ages to come
he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace
in kindness towards us in Christ Jesus.
For by grace you have been saved through faith,
and this is not your own doing;
it is the gift of God -
not the result of works, so that no one may boast.
For we are what he has made us,
created in Christ Jesus for good works,
which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.
                                                                    Eph 2:4-10

1 comment:

Mrs Gerbil said...

Now you mention it, yeah, you have occasionally made passing references to Augustine & Calvin being a little misunderstood ��