The neighbor who lives across the street from us parks his van right behind our driveway. The presence of his vehicle makes leaving our house an adventure. Several mornings I have backed out of the driveway and wished he would find another place to park, removing the obstacle from my path.
G has begun running track again. Tonight, he ran shuttle hurdles. The key to the successful navigation of these obstacles is rhythm -- run, run, jump, step, step, step, jump, step, step, step, jump, etc. The event was shuttle hurdles, which is a relay event. G was running the final leg of the relay. The runner who had run before him in the lane had knocked down one of the hurdles, and no one had sat it back up again. So as G came to the hurdle, it was wasn't there -- he ran through it instead of jumping over it. This completely destroyed the rhythm of the run, so as he finished running, he had the wrong number of steps between each hurdle. For him, the obstacle to succesfully running the race was the ABSENCE of an obstacle.
We're starting a new class tomorrow based on the Philip Yancey book, "What's so Amazing About Grace." Yancey says,
Grace is Christianity's best gift to the world, a spiritual nova in our midst, exerting a force stronger than vengence, stronger than racism, stronger than hate. Sadly to a world desperate for this grace the church sometimes presents one more form of ungrace.
Our unique gift to the world is grace, and yet we too often offer ungrace. What are the obstacles that get in our way of offering grace?
- Sometimes we value the rules over grace. We judge people (and ourselves) by the way we believe that they should be, rather than by giving them the grace that God wants us to offer them.
- Do we sometimes think that its wrong to be joyful? That laughter, happiness and a lighthearted attitude are anti-Christian? Do we sometimes think that we need to be un-joyful in order to be properly Christian?
- Are there times when we think we don't deserve grace? And isn't that ridiculous when you think about it? How could or would we expect to earn something that is given freely? Do we think we have to earn it?
- Does our pride get in our way? Do we want to "make it one our own" because we think that gives us value in God's or each others' eyes?
- Is guilt an obstacle to grace?