Thursday, September 4, 2008

the gift of god's grace, part 2

so, let's continue thinking about god's grace.

the idea that the almighty cares about what happens here on this little blue sphere is actually quite an awesome proposition, and one not easily defended in today's context. (go here and here and here)

on the face of it, it seems incredible that god would give this place a second thought. so often (most often), as a race, we are petty and selfish and full of only ourselves and our wants. we hate and kill and murder and make war.

of course, there is much that goes with this world that shows itself as good and positive and even beautiful, but as we have said elsewhere, ultimately we must view our world through the background music of a minor key, even a dirge.

but, it is also important to take note that, even as badly we behave, god has a stake in how things turn out. this, too, is difficult to prove as well.

what weighs heavily against this understanding of the world is the view that god is sovereign and in complete control of all things. this view of god is quite indefensible within the context of the world-wide slaughter of the innocents that occurred in the last century.

it seems to me that the only defensible view of god today is a god that comes to us not as sovereign, but instead a god who has chosen weakness and loss and sacrifice.

i'll never forget reading the story of William Sloane Coffin, whose son, Alex, was tragically killed in and car accident. when confronted with the normal religious well-meaning mantra, about god's will, he catigorically rejected this assessment and simply said, "when alex died god's heart was the first to break." (go here)

i can go with this thought -- not something i'm asking anyone else follow -- because this describes a god who stands beside us and not one who hovers above us.

no doubt the clearest and most profound example of this god beside us is found in the incarnation. this coming "close" is the unique story in human history. this god chose weakness and brokenness and sorrow and sacrifice to make known his presence. and this god even allowed his experience of humanness to go all the way to death. some welcome to our world, huh?

here, the god comes close and shares the dirge; he participates in the world with its minor chords and the bittersweet poignancy of humanity's existence.

in the end, this is the only kind of god we can actually hear and understand. anything else is theo-bable.