Tuesday, December 29, 2009

On Nullifying God's Grace

Week of 12/27/09 watchword:

Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted; his glory is above earth and heaven. Psalm 148:13

The New Testament for 12/28/09:

I do not nullify the grace of God. Galatians 2:21

Part of the doctrinal heritage of the Reformation is "irresistible grace." Who are we, it goes, to resist God's sovereign will, to block the movement of God's grace? It's about God getting God's way; not our will be done, but God's.

When Paul speaks of "nullifying" God's grace, could he be suggesting that we create ways to void God's offer of love and grace? We do so by not believing the best about God and ourselves, that we are made in God's image and created in love. We choose to use our precious time in a way that does not lead to life. We do it as a species, to each other- and to earth, our home.

So Paul's personal statement about not nullifying the grace of God is not about God's grace, but rather our pugnacious spirit of denying, resisting, rejecting the movement of God's grace in and beyond us. If you want a community based on merit, then join the Boy Scouts or Rotary. Or the Optimists (my favorite civic club). Many churches, in their own way, resist the movement of God's grace in their shared life. Many clergy too.

In this last week of 2009, the confession proves helpful:

God, your life is within us, but our selfishness has hindered you. We have not lived by faith. We have resisted your Spirit. We have neglected your inspirations. Deliver us, loving God, from nullifying your grace this day, this moment. Amen.

Christ's peace to you and yours!

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