Thursday, December 17, 2015

Advent XIX

It is said, and even sung, that grace is amazing.  Indeed, it is.  Grace speaks of the favor of God being granted to the likes of you and me, not because of anything we have done, but because it is God's choice to grant it.  Grace, therefore, is simply understood as the undeserved, the unearned, and the freely given favor of God.  We experience it because God is loving and merciful.  Indeed, amazing!  But, could it not also be said that grace is bewildering?  Surely, anyone one of us who has stood in some broken moment full of sinfulness and received grace instead of condemnation would say that grace can indeed be a bewildering thing.
As I reflect on how grace is bewildering, I keep thinking about one of Charles Wesley's great hymns.  Charles Wesley had the famous brother, John Wesley, who is recognized as the Father of Methodism.  John was the preacher, but Charles was the hymn writer.  The hymn which will not go away is entitled, "And Can It Be."  I love to sing it, but even more, I love to be in the midst of a great gathering of God's people as this hymn is lifted toward God.  It is a great hymn to sing, but it was also and continues to be a great hymn of theological teaching.  Read or sing all its verses and nothing more needs to be added to understand what Christ has done for us.  Remember with me, though, just that first verse.  "And can it be that I should gain an interest in the Savior's blood!  Died He for me, who caused His pain!  For me, who Him to death pursued?  Amazing love! How can it be that Thou my God, shoulds't die for me?  Amazing love!  How can it be that Thou, my God, shoulds't die for me?
Yes, it is amazing, this grace of God so freely given.  I am once again bewildered by it.  It happens every time I stand in the presence of it and realize that it is being offered to me.  To me.  Of all people, to me.  It is impossible to understand how it can be!  Bewildered again am I.  And, perhaps, you are, too.   

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