What Grace is Not
The word "grace" is losing its meaning in this decade just like the word "evangelical" lost its meaning during the last.
Grace is not a big spiritual mush pot of okayness.
It does not translate to:
"I'm not okay, you're not okay, so that's okay."
You and I,
we throw grace around like the holy "just."
"Father, just, we just come to You to just ask You to just..."
And so it is now with "grace."
A catch all.
The smiley face emoticon.
We stick it in to smooth things over.
Grace is not two ugly, naked, middle aged people on a nude beach talking about the weather and pretending not to notice the horrors they are seeing.
Grace is not two thieves laughing at that fool, tight-fisted baker from whom they stole a hot loaf of bread.
Grace is not a kid walking into the crowded part of the swimming pool and peeing because he doesn't want to take time to find the bathroom.
Grace is not a grown man sleeping with another man's wife or daughter, then saying, "Grace. This was grace to me. God gave that woman's body to me to heal me."
Grace is not extending a cut crystal glass of raspberry-flavored poison to the naive.
Grace is not fluffing the pillows on a train car that's about to crash.
Grace is not yanking a fit-throwing baby away from her Father because she wants to play with the fire, and He will not let her.
Grace is an exchange,
an exchange given in the context of authority --
an exchange that cost real flesh, and real blood,
and real tears,
and a real son to a real father.
Never in all of time
has there been a cry of grief
like that cry of grief.
Light torn in half.
Love, the living muscle,
ripped through the middle of its flex.
"My God, My God... why?"
Grace is beautiful because it is specific.
Grace is holy because it is singular.
Grace is deeply, profoundly offensive -- because it is a narrow gate that opens up into a wide, warm sea.
Grace is thorny because it calls what is evil evil,
because it asks
to call what is evil evil,
because it pricks us through
before it give us a safety.
This generation rolls grace around like cheap wine in a glass,
as if we were born entitled
to drink from the opened vein of a God.