Monday, October 04, 2010

Grace That's Still Amazing

We’ve seen this morning that God’s power and presence are ultimately aimed at the goal of love and mercy which ought to cause us to erupt in thankful praise and worship. Our liturgy, our worship service, understood rightly is meant to walk us through something of the same theology. We begin our service with an exhortation which is meant to call us to confession of sin. While we greet one another with cheerfulness and we go into the house of the Lord with singing, there is a regular weekly reminder that grace is still grace. It’s not as though Jesus undoes grace, such that in Christ, we now deserve the grace of God. Forgiveness in the blood of Christ and union with Christ are nothing but grace, but we do not begin by grace through faith and then proceed by some kind of score keeping. Nor is it as though salvation is just a ticket you get at the beginning of the Christian life, a free pass to heaven. No, salvation is the entire recreation of the world; salvation is the healing of all brokenness, the undoing of every wrong. And this is why we confess our sins as a congregation at the beginning of every Lord’s Day service. We still need grace. It is as much a confession of faith, that we are here because of grace, and that grace is still grace. We are still here by a miracle. If you’ve come to Church for 20 or 30 or 50 or 90 years it doesn’t matter. It’s still grace. And that’s why cry out for mercy and grace even after the absolution, not because we worry or fear that our sins might still be sticking to us, but because we know that we are just people, little people, very small. And we are frail and weak, and we still need more grace. God speaks to us in His mercy and lovingkindness, as a Father to His own children through the Word read and preached. We mill about like giddy little children hugging and kissing one another in thankfulness for the love that our Father has lavished on us, and then we respond in offering up our tithes and offerings and prayers, all that we are to God in Christ. And then we sit down here at this table as welcome and beloved sons. But this is all still impossible grace, overwhelming grace. Here God insists that He loves you, and that He sent His Son for you. As you take this bread and drink this cup, God gives Himself to you and for you specifically in all your weakness, in all your doubts, in all your brokenness. And He promises to be God for you still. Amazing grace is the only kind of grace there is. The kind of grace and love that we don’t deserve, that we have not earned, that we should not have. And therefore, all that we can do is worship. All that we can do is give thanks. All that we can do is praise the name of the Lord. So receive these gifts as nothing less than God’s infinite and amazing grace for you and for the world, and revel in them until you are amazed.

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