Thursday, October 06, 2011

What's So Amazing About Grace?

Philip Yancey

Yes, it is the title of his book, and a book I have found very informative about understanding Grace. But, it is a question about which I still have lots of questions. I wonder if I am alone in this. If you are reading this newsletter, and you have insight about accessing Grace, I would love to chat.

The question that has been in the forefront of my exploration on this subject over the last ten or eleven years is, "How can I stay ‘plugged in’ to Grace?"

You know how we talk about Grace:

"She just had lots of Grace to do that. It was so difficult, but she just seemed to have an extra measure of Grace and Favor to do what had to be done."

"God’s Grace just seemed to fall on him. He was able to do what he had always failed to be able to do before. He just had Grace to do it."

A good friend and Christian cohort and I were talking about this just last week. My questions remain:

"Is all Grace available all the time?"

"If it is, how do we access that Grace?"

"Sometimes a difficult task just seems easy, like I’m being carried through it. At other times, I just can’t seem to accomplish what I want so badly to do, or say what I want so badly to convey. What makes the difference?"

"Is it my surrender to God’s will, or the lack of it?"

"Is not ‘having Grace’ a sign that God isn’t in what I’m attempting to do or be?"

Yancey says:

" "What pulled me along was my search for grace. I rejected the church for a time because I found so little grace there. I returned because I found grace nowhere else."

And he also quotes from "Babette’s Feast":

"In the generals’ speech, Isak Dinesen leaves no doubt that she wrote "Babette’s Feast" not simply as a story of a fine meal but as a parable of grace: a gift that cost everything for the giver and nothing for the recipient. This is what General Loewenhielm told the grim-faced parishioners gathered around him at Babette’s table:

‘ We have all of us been told that grace is to be found in the universe. But in our human foolishness and shortsightedness we imagine divine grace to be finite . . . But the moment comes when our eyes are opened, and we see and realize that grace is finite. Grace, my friends, demands nothing from us but that we shall await it with confidence and acknowledge it in gratitude.’

Twelve years before, Babette had landed among the graceless ones. Followers of Luther, they heard sermons on grace nearly every Sunday and the rest of the week tried to earn God’s favor with their pieties and renunciations. Grace came to them in the form of a feast, Babette’s feast, a meal of a lifetime lavished on those who had in no way earned it, who barely possessed the faculties to receive it. Grace came to Norre Vosburg as it always comes: free of charge, no strings attached, on the house."

I would be interested in a book study Life Group gathering to read Yancey’s What’s So Amazing about Grace?, gathering over coffee to discuss what we’ve read. There are twenty chapters, divided into four parts. We could gather four times to discuss having read each part, or twenty times to discuss each chapter. Anyone? Call me at 355-6286 or email me at I’d love to learn more about Grace!

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