Saturday, April 22, 2006

Growing Grace-fully

“I asked God about his plan to save us all from Satan's slaughter.
If I give up one of my lambs will you take me as one of your daughters?
'Cause I want to get right with God.
Yes, you know you got to get right with God.”
--Lucinda Williams

It was pretty hard for me to get my head around the idea that I did not have to “get right with God”. He had this big scorecard with my name on it and I had to be very careful to keep a sufficient number of marks on the good side.

Grace was a word that I knew. We said grace before we shared a meal. We sang the song “Amazing Grace”, although I always had trouble seeing myself as a wretch. When I felt particularly blessed in comparison to another I would say to myself, “There but for the grace of God go I.” But I really did not know Grace.

Come to find out what I had, at 48 years of age, was a very elementary understanding of my faith and of God. Things that did not make sense, which I knew were illogical, I figured I was supposed to take on faith. Jesus loved the little children but God was going to send me straight to hell in a hand-basket if I wasn’t dutifully obedient. The only Good News was that I would have been in good company, depending on who you talked to. In particular were family and friends of mine who had not been “bathed in the spirit”, not to mention a homosexual or two.

The first time I heard the word Grace in the context of universal salvation was at an adult study group. It was life changing. I did not go gently into my “age of enlightenment.” Thankfully there was a very patient teacher and friends, who stuck with me in my effort to fully understand that the Grace of God is for everyone, unconditionally, with no eligibility guidelines and definitely no scorecards.

My faith has grown stronger and deeper. The more I learn on this journey, the more questions I have, and then I learn some more. You could say I am growing in Grace.

"God loves everyone
Like a mother loves her son
No strings at all
Never one to judge
Would never hold a grudge
'Bout what's been done
God loves everyone...

...There's no need to be saved
No need to be afraid
Cause when it's done
God takes everyone
God loves everyone"
--Ron Sexsmith

"God Loves Everyone" was written by Ron Sexsmith as a response to the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard, a gay University of Wyoming student. "The crime itself was horrible enough," says Sexsmith, "but I remember reading about the trial, where there were these folks standing outside with signs saying, ‘God hates fags' or ‘Burn in hell fags.' I couldn't believe that people could actually have those kinds of thoughts.” For the complete lyrics follow this link: God Loves Everyone.


Anonymous daddy d. said...

Work divided by time is power. During the journey forward through time, work needs to be done. The big thing is to help each other as we can in getting work done. Together more work gets done in the same amount of time. More power to the people who journey forward together.

10:58 PM  
Blogger PT said...

Very well stated. I hope your theological journey continues to be rewarding. I have appreciated learning from you. All GOOD theology begins and ends with GRACE!

11:08 PM  
Anonymous mjd said...

You are growing in grace, and you help the rest of us grow in grace as well.

You have made an excellent observation, "Grace of God is for everyone, unconditionally, with no eligibility guidelines and definitely no scorecards."

Most days I am able to remember that.

10:43 PM  
Anonymous mjd said...

Have you seen The Laramie Project, which chronicles life in Laramie the year after the murder of Matthew Shepard? HBO produced a film, but last year the Merrillville HS diversity organization, S.T.A.N.D., presented a very moving play titled The Laramie Project.

8:15 PM  

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