Grace…

Grace is a beautiful concept for anyone who can accept it.  Accepting God’s grace is not always easy for individuals.  Sometimes we hold ourselves to a higher standard than others.  I am going to paraphrase author and former Monk Brennan Manning in what has been a helpful reminder to me that Grace is for me, too:

The Raggamuffin Gospel is for a specific reading audience.

  • It is not for the super spiritual.
  • Not for muscular Christians who have made John Wayne, and not Jesus, their hero.
  • Not for academics who imprison Jesus in the ivory tower of exegesis.
  • Not for noisy, feel-good folks who manipulate Christianity into a naked appeal to emotion.
  • Not for hooded mystics who want magic in their religion.
  • Not for Christians who live only on the mountaintop and have never visited the valley of desolation.
  • Not for the fearless and tearless.
  • Not for those who exalt their honors, diplomas, and good deeds, actually believing they have made it.
  • Not for legalists who would rather surrender control of their souls to rules than run the risk of living in union with Jesus.

The Ragamuffin Gospel was written for the bedraggled, beat-up, and burnt-out:

  • It is for the sorely burdened who are still shifting the heavy suitcase from one hand to the other.
  • For the wobbly and weak-kneed who know they don’t have it all together and are too proud to accept the handout of amazing grace
  • For inconsistent, unsteady disciples whose cheese is falling off the cracker.
  • For poor, weak, sinful men and women with hereditary faults and limited talents.
  • It is for earthen vessels who shuffle along on feet of clay.
  • It is for the bent and the bruised who feel that their lives are a grave disappointment to God.
  • It is for smart people who know they are stupid and honest disciples who admit they are scalawags.
  • It is for anyone who has grown weary and discouraged along the way.

So often we live with a guilt in believing that our lives are a grave disappointment to God.  Life full of sin, underachievements and missing the mark.  This belief keeps us from believing that God’s grace is for us.  I have not mastered the art of accepting grace or always believing that God loves me.  Jesus teaches us that loving God and loving others are the two most important things we can do.  I am beginning to believe that these actions bring us closer to grace and closer to God.

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