Grace is a Greased Pig

I’ve been in one of my pensive moods most of this week.  “Pensive mood” is shorthand for contemplating the deep things of life and the human condition.

This morning in the second part of the Vine and the Branches series I tried to explain LOVE.  Nothing makes you feel weaker and more incomplete than holding up the ultimate standard.

Here are some thoughts that came to mind throughout the week:

Nothing makes you need love quicker than giving love.  Nothing makes my kids need a nap more than hours of full-tilt play.  Getting the love thing right, in some capacity, helps increase our dependency and need for Christ – just like the more I exhale the more I need to inhale.

Distance is foundational to our knowledge of and grace for others.  The greater the proximity from someone the more we’ll only see his or her personality. The closer the proximity the more we’ll see the person – just like the further I get from the Mona Lisa the more I focus on the frame and the shape.  The closer the proximity, the more I see the artistry, the contours and shading – in art as well as people.

Grace is tied to this deep understanding of people and their own unique circumstances and challenges.  There are two kinds of people in this world – those who judge people, like books, by their covers and those who judge people by their story.  Nobody is 100% good or 100% evil – we’re all an amalgam.  When we recognize our own complexities it is easier to have grace for the weaknesses and failings of others.  I once told Tamara that a person who disliked us and was attacking us was “not all bad” – just that the bad slice of their pie was facing us.  Grace comes from bird’s eye perspectives of people rather than reactions to slights, insults, failings or the like.

It is the nature of love to bind things together.  In a broken world, this means a lot of binding up, nurturing, patience, apologies and forgiveness.  The law, rules, bars of perfection, high expectations, impatience and judgment don’t really help.  Grace is the glue God gave to put this world – like Humpty Dumpty – back together again.  Christians without grace become mere commentators on brokenness.  Christians with grace become restoration artists putting pieces back together again – or, as Paul said, “ministers of reconciliation.”

Grace is a greased pig.  In trying to live out grace you can chase it, you can reach for it, you can understand it and you can grab it, but it is incredibly hard to hold on to for long.  We slide off quickly and often.  Knowing what grace is in our heads is a lot easier than living it out in our lives.

The Book of Proverbs says, A cheerful face is good medicine – satisfying to the soul.  Making someone smile, therefore, is giving good medicine.  If you want to heal the world, making someone smile is a good place to start.

Lastly, pensive moods make for weird thoughts and lengthy rambling sermons!!



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