Lord, I’ve been broken
Although I’m not worthy
You fixed me, I’m blinded
By your grace
You came and saved me….
My go-to book when I need encouragement or inspiration or when I am just feeling a bit jaded with everything is “What’s so amazing about grace” by Philip Yancey. “Lovesick Father” (Chapter 4, where Yancey retells 3 of Jesus’ parables in modern settings) makes me cry every time. There is something so wonderful about people expecting (and sometimes deserving) the worst but receiving the best.
Yancey’s book goes on to explain how grace is Christianity’s unique contribution among world religions. “The notion of God’s love coming to us free of charge, no strings attached, seems to go against every instinct of humanity……..only Christianity dares to make God’s love unconditional”.
Perhaps the most famous quote from Yancey’s book is this:
“There is nothing we can do to make God love us more. There is nothing we can do to make God love us less”.
It is so helpful to be reminded of God’s extravagant grace. We need to dwell on it, to soak in it and to allow the idea of grace to move from our heads to our hearts. Daily life is often not full of grace. I listen to radio 4 on the way to work but find that the acrimonious exchanges force me to switch over to soothing classical music or the latest CD by Stuart Townsend (which I highly recommend). Certain politicians, leaders and celebrities use loud, belligerent and arrogant language – the very opposite of grace. Tabloid headlines focus in on people’s faults and mistakes, pointing the finger at their lifestyles – no grace there. Much of the Brexit debate has been grace-less – each side trying to bring the other down with no apparent willingness to accept differences and work together for the greater good.
On Sunday (February 17th) we were reminded of God’s grace to us in our worship. Steve then continued the theme with the picture of kintsugi – broken pots repaired with golden lacquer to form beautiful and unique patterns in each piece of pottery. God’s grace to us not only means he loves us but that with our individual brokenness redeemed by him we can reach out to others. With a kind word, an understanding look, a thoughtful card or a generous action, we can channel God’s grace straight into their lives.
We live in a grace-starved world. If we are to make a difference – in our families, with our friends, with our neighbours, where we work – then bringing grace into these situations is something we can seek to do every day. We will need God’s help and his Spirit is with us. As we do this, we may find grace in surprising places………….I began this article with a verse from a song. I wonder if you know it. Current worship song? New hymn? Well, yes, sort of. It was written by the rapper Stormzy and was top of the charts in 2017. How amazing that this song is being listened to and sung by millions of young people. Here is verse 2:
I said a prayer this morning
I prayed I would find the way
To another day, I was so afraid
Till you came and saved
You came and saved me
And the rain was pouring
Cause the sun faded away
Now I’m in a better place
No longer afraid
Blinded by your grace
You came and saved me