Tuesday, February 09, 2010

By His Grace

Before we head into Lent to reflect and refine our souls...

There’s always more for each of us to do.
But that’s not the end of the story of how we stand before God.
And it’s not the beginning of that story either.

The fact that I’m not yet doing enough
- and the reality that I’ll probably never do all that I possibly could -
doesn’t for a moment change who I am in God’s eyes
and in the eyes of God, I am never worthless,
no matter how great my failings…
in the eyes of God, you are never worthless…
no matter how great your failings…
In God’s eyes each of us is, always, the beloved…

Most folks have a hard time with this.

Isaiah had a problem with it, too.
After actually seeing God with his own eyes, his first words were
“Woe is me, I am doomed! For I am a man of unclean lips…”
And the Lord’s response?
He sends an angel to cleanse Isaiah’s lips
with the sweet kiss of an ember glowing with mercy.

Peter had the same difficulty.
After hauling in, with the Lord’s help, the greatest catch he’d ever made --
Peter falls on his knees and says,
“Get away from me, Lord -- I’m a sinful man!”
And the Lord’s response?
Jesus says, simply, “Peter, don’t be afraid of me…”

In both these scriptures
the Lord is calling someone for a particular task:
Isaiah to be a prophet, Peter to spread the gospel.
But in both stories the Lord has to break through
how Isaiah and Peter see themselves
so that they might begin to see how God sees them.

The greatest mistake any faith or religion can make
is to lead its followers to believe
that there could be moments when God doesn’t love them,
or to believe that God’s love must somehow be earned.
The first error denies the nature of God for God is love.
The second error denies the nature of human beings
since nothing we do
can earn, merit or deserve God’s love.
God’s love is a pure gift, freely given, to all, always,
because God is love.

~ Concord Pastor


Myrnie said...

Beautiful! But, I think people are too hard on themselves- God gives us peace. Looking for our failings each day doesn't seem like something He would want us to do! :) We try our hardest, we repent when we make a mistake, and we always keep moving forward. Our goal is perfection, knowing that we can never reach it in this life time, but every day we open our eyes and say "how can I be better today?". What do you think? I love reading these pieces that you publish :)

Alexandra said...

Yes, we can seek perfection which is beyond us. It's difficult not to focus on self, especially in the modern world which constantly drags us back to self. In the Lord we find peace.:)

Elizabeth G. said...

Hi, Alexandra, I haven't been blogging recently. Still grieving for a lost friend. Trying to get back in the swing of things.

Hey, do you know of a link for a good Lenten observance? I would like to get a hold of something for next week.

Thanks so much!

Alexandra said...

I'll try to post something soon. Search my blog with "lenten" or "lent". I have some good links form past years too.