Friday, February 13, 2009

Grace in Theory

the following is from the Ragamuffin Gospel.

“We accept grace in theory but deny it in practice. Living by grace rather than law leads us out of the house of fear into the house of love. “In love there is no room for fear, but perfect love drives out fear: because fear implies punishment and no one who is afraid has come to perfection in love” (1 John 4:18).

While we profess our faith in God’s unconditional love, many of us still live in fear. Nouwen remarks: Look at the many “if” questions we raise: What am I going to do if I do not find a spouse, a house, a job, a friend, a benefactor? What am I going to do if they fire me, if I get sick, if an accident happens, if I lose my friends, if my marriage does not work out, if war breaks out? What if tomorrow the weather is bad, the buses are on strike, or an earthquake happens? What if someone steals my money, breaks into my house, rapes my daughter, or kills me?

Once these questions guide our lives, we take out a second mortgage in the house of fear.
Jesus says simply, “Remain in me, as I in you” (John 15:4). Home is not a heavenly mansion in the afterlife but a safe place right in the midst of our anxious world. “Anyone who loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we shall come to him and make a home in him” (John 14:23).

Home is that sacred space-external or internal-where we don’t have to be afraid; where we are confident of hospitality and love. In our society we have homeless people sleeping not only on the streets, in shelters or in welfare hotels, but vagabonds who are in flight, who never come home to themselves. They seek a safe place through alcohol or drugs or security in success, competence, friends, pleasure, notoriety, knowledge, or even a little religion. They have become strangers to themselves, people who have an address but are never at home, who never hear the voice of love or experience the freedom of God’s children.

To those of us in flight, who are afraid to turn around lest we run into ourselves, Jesus says, You have a home. I am your home. Claim me as your home. You will find it to be the intimate place where I have found my home. It is right where you are, in your innermost being. In your heart.

For those who have moved from the house of fear and have made their home in Jesus reads the following.

Eviction Notice!

You are hereby banished from the house of Fear forever. With malice aforethought, you have flagrantly withheld the monthly rent of guilt, anxiety, fear, shame and self-condemnation. You have adamantly refused to worry about your salvation. Already I overheard one dismal tenant say, “There goes the neighborhood!” Your freedom from fear is not only dangerous but contagious. Real estate values have plummeted; gullible investors are hard to find. Why? Your callous and carefree rejection of slavery! A pox on you and all deluded lovers of liberty!

The Prince!


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