Grace Running

Let your grace run free

we sing.

It makes me wonder if we are the ones that trip grace up sometimes.

We church people with our unspoken rules and our haughty glances.

We church people struggling to be known by our love instead of our political persuasion, instead of (gasp) our imposition of a standard of morality.

I think about how I’ve seen God work, and it rings true.

Grace running.

Not accepting our offer to work off the money that we squandered.  Not entertaining our apologies and excuses.  Not even waiting for them.

But spotting us a long way off.

And running.

Embracing.  Celebrating.

(Luke 15:11-31)

This is the gospel.

This is the good news.

It makes me wonder if this grace trips us up sometimes.

We church people who grumble like the brother in the background.

We church people who want our good choices, our noble deeds to count for something.

Grace running feels too easy somehow.

It’s not.

In fact, it cost everything.

This too is the gospel, the good news.

For all of us.

Let’s not trip grace up.

And let’s not trip up on it.

Let’s let grace run free.

 

 

When Love Wins

You guys, I watched love win this week.

It’s not something we get to see often in this business of foster care,

But this week I got a glimpse of it.

I entered the tiny room, thick with despair

And emboldened by the prayers of the faithful,

I watched love crumble defenses, expose truth and bring hope.

They were sacred moments.  Life-filled moments.

Hard to wrap words around.

I left that room a little breathless.

We were all taken aback with the immensity of it.

That was beautiful, I heard in the lobby, it says a lot about you.

But, friends, it doesn’t.

Not so much.

It says a lot about the Love I know.

***

Bread and cup in hand, I am reminded of another day when Love won.

I am, again, overcome with emotion to think of it.

A perfect, sinless sacrifice becoming sin.  Conquering death.

For us.

For me.

I know again, in these moments, my ravenous need for this body and blood.

My desperateness, my utter dependence on a Deliverer.

I know again that I am not here to rescue.

I am here because I’ve been rescued.

Here in these sacred moments, hard to wrap words around.

Here in these life-filled moments

When Love wins.

The bravest thing

Once upon a time when I was young,

When everything felt more absolute and less messy,

I would have argued with you about the fine line between praying in faith and singing lies right in church.

I would have argued that if I didn’t see it right now with my very own eyes, it couldn’t be true.

Now I am older.

Life and faith feel messy and honestly, some days, too hard.

I know some things to be true with my heart that my younger mind could never hold, could never handle.

I’m thinking about Elijah this morning.

Elijah was a man just like us (James 5:17)

Elijah in all the messiness of his humanity.

Bold and terrified.

Calling down fire from heaven and running for his life.

Collapsing under a tree, under the weight of it all, asking God to make it end.

(1 Kings 19)

Elijah, the man living in between the now and the not yet.

Knowing God in the quiet whisper on the mountain but waiting on the promise of redemption in the flesh.

A promise he would never see with his own eyes.

Elijah was a man just like us.

A man whose prayer was powerful and effective because of a righteousness not his own.

And so I stand right up.

And I pray the words, right out loud.

Through it all, through it all, my eyes are on you.

And it is well with me.

Because I am not the first one to live in between the now and the not yet.

Because just because I don’t see it with my very own eyes at this very moment doesn’t mean that it isn’t true.

Because I believe in prayer.  Powerful, effective prayer rooted in a righteousness not my own.

Because right now, in this moment,

Doing the thing that my younger self would have mocked, would have argued about, is the hardest, truest, bravest thing I can do.