Sunday, July 18, 2004

much needed words

These are much needed words quoted from two incredible sources: Frederick Buechner and the Gospel of Luke.  They are poignant words for me right now. 
     " Grace is something you can never get but can only be given.  There's no way to earn it or deserve it or bring it about any more than you can deserve the taste of raspberries and cream or earn good looks or bring about your own birth.
     A good sleep is grace and so are good dreams.  Most tears are grace.  The smell of rain is grace.  Somebody loving you is grace.  Loving somebody is grace.  Have you ever tried to love somebody?" (Beyond Words, p.139)
     "...our unforgivingness is among those things about us that we need to have God forgive us most.  What Jesus apparently is saying is that the pride that keeps us from forgiving is the same pride that keeps us from accepting forgiveness, and will God please help us do something about it. 
     When somebody you've wronged forgives you, you're spared the dull and self-diminishing throb of a guilty conscience.
     When you forgive somebody who has wronged you, you're spared the dismal corrosion of bitterness and wounded pride.
     For both parties, forgiveness means the freedom again to be at peace inside their own skins and to be glad in each other's presence."  (Beyond Words, p. 119)
     "Innocent people may be up to their necks in muck with the rest of us, but the mark of their innocence is that it never seems to stick to them.  Things may be rotten all around them, but they preserve a curious freshness.  Even when, like the disciple Peter, they are guilty of tragic flaws and failures, you feel that some inner purity remains untouched.  Everybody knew, for instance, that the woman who washed Jesus' feet in Simon the Pharisee's house was no better than she ought to be, but as she dried them with her hair and kissed them, apart from Simon there was no one there, least of all Jesus, who would have dreamed of holding it against her (Luke 7:36-49)."  (Beyond Words, p. 170)
"Do you see this woman?  I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.  You gave me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss my feet.  You did not anoint my head with oil, but she anointed my feet with perfume.  For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little."  Then he said to her, "Your sins have been forgiven."  (Luke 7:44-48)
I quote all of these words because they are not my own.  They are not my thoughts and not my feelings.  I have little comprehension of grace and forgiveness.  I hope to learn more and more about all of this.  I just feel like such an idiot when it comes to really grasping and practicing the grace of God.  In any case, these words above are powerful and challenging. 


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