Tuesday, July 31, 2007

"Traveling Light" - Chapter Eight

Ya know, God's grace has been flowing through all the stuff I've been whining about for eight whole chapters.

The monsoon of church and family struggles has drowned my self-righteousness. My "good deeds" float around as debris.

  • My decades of ordained ministry - building up congregations, buildings, programs and organizations - have done nothing to stop the decay of The Episcopal Church. But the other day, God had me at a dying man's bedside. I don't even remember what I prayed - that was a gift from God. And this man unburdened himself of a lifetime of sin, found peace, and went on to paradise. As Jesus tells us, heaven threw a big party. I'm learning that more of the universe moves when I rely on the Holy Spirit than when I sweat and strain to stop the world's turnings.
  • My frantic efforts (I've been doing two part-time jobs along with my parish work) have not balanced the family budget. But unexpected gifts from friends have pulled us through.
  • My hours of worrying and complaining have not cured the health problems in my household. But giving thanks for the grace of my own good health has helped me care for my family, using Christ's strength at work in me.
  • All of my noble efforts (listed above in glorious detail!) have not made me more saintly - they've made me cranky, cynical and morbid. But limping toward Christ in prayer has nurtured the fruit of the Spirit.

Lucado likens our sins to a compost heap at the foot of the cross. Compost heaps are smelly and gross looking, but they contribute to wonderful gardens. Even when we've been fruitless in our efforts to "be good", Jesus is tending us. The experience might stink for a season, but Christ pleads for our needs and becomes our righteousness - making us a pleasing offering to our Father in heaven.

Chapter 9 (half-way thru the book!) on Friday.


Alice C. Linsley said...

This world of which we are natural creatures is hard for us. Imagine what exile it was for the Lord of glory to take on flesh and live as one of us! Because of His exile, we've been delivered from Egypt, the primeval Curse has been reversed. Through His death, death has been trampled beneath the feet of Life. Through His resurrecton, we hope to share in His eternal Kingdom. Christ our God has accomplished all things. We are to enjoy His fruitfulness and invite a lost world to partake of Him also.

TLF+ said...

Alice - as a student of tribal cultures, you will appreciate that the buffalo, Tatanka, is a sign of providence in the Lakota mythology (and even a useful Christ-symbol for Christian preachers). Tatanka came to help the people because life in this world is hard, giving his body up for their needs.