Grace Emerges

Sunday, September 23, 2012

What is grace?

What is grace?  Apparently, English-speaking society has arrived at the following definitions...


  [greys]  Show IPA noun, verb, graced,grac·ing.
elegance or beauty of form, manner, motion, or action: We watched her skate with effortless grace across the ice.attractiveness, charm, gracefulness,comeliness, ease, lissomeness, fluidity. stiffness,ugliness, awkwardness, clumsiness; klutziness.
a pleasing or attractive quality or endowment: He lacked the manly graces.
favor or goodwill. kindness, kindliness, love,benignity; Antonyms: condescension.
a manifestation of favor, especially by a superior: It was only through the dean's grace that I wasn't expelled from school.forgiveness, charity, mercifulness. animosity, enmity, disfavor.
mercy; clemency; pardon: He was saved by an act of grace from the governor. lenity, leniency, reprieve.harshness.
favor shown in granting a delay or temporary immunity.
an allowance of time after a debt or bill has become payable granted to the debtor before suit can be brought against himor her or a penalty applied: The life insurance premium is duetoday, but we have 31 days' grace before the policy lapses.Compare grace period.
Theology .
the freely given, unmerited favor and love of God.
the influence or spirit of God operating in humans to regenerate or strengthen them.
a virtue or excellence of divine origin: the Christian graces.
Also called state of grace. the condition of being in God's favor or one of the elect.
moral strength: the grace to perform a duty.
a short prayer before or after a meal, in which a blessing is asked and thanks are given: Grandfather will now say grace.
usually initial capital letter a formal title used in addressing or mentioning a duke, duchess, or archbishop, and formerlyalso a sovereign (usually preceded by your, his,  etc.).
Graces, Classical Mythology the goddesses of beauty,daughters of Zeus and Eurynome, worshiped in Greece asthe Charities and in Rome as the Gratiae.
Music grace note.

Notice how in these definitions, the common concept of grace divides people into groups of "haves" and "have nots".  Those that are beautiful and those that are plain (def'n 1, 2).  Those that receive leniency and those that receive harshness, those in favor and those out of favor (3, 4, 5, 6).  Those that meet the deadline, and those that don't (7).  Those with special attributes, and everyone else (2, 9, 11, 12, 13).

In other words, "grace" is in contrast to plain, ordinary, folks that haven't met some requirement or deadline, don't have what it takes, or don't have it "in" with the authorities.  Grace makes you a winner.  The rest of us are losers!  Grace is about unfairness, about "grading on a curve", so that some pass and some fail.  It's about percentiles.  Some are above-average, some are below-averaged.  Grace is about elitist society.  Grace is about normal life, unfair as it may be.

If you've read my blog, you know that I have a problem with that.  And it's not because I just don't like it.  It's because the teachings of Jesus were far above this kind of thinking.  The teachings of Jesus turn the concepts of normal life upside down.  They transcend elitism, in fact they tear down systems of control and hierarchy. What do they replace it with?  Another unfair system?  No - as I've tried to explain in some previous posts (like, Jesus replaced elitism with a perfect kingdom.  With a perfect king.  The king of ultimate authority but also perfect grace.  Our favor does not depend on any man-made system, or any spiritual ticket, but only on a personality, a being, a king - Jesus/God, the incarnation of God on Earth, the good news for all people.  

What is the good news?  Jesus came for the common man.  Not only for the elite few.

Jesus represents grace perfected, not the flawed divisive grace of normal life.  Why should Jesus fit the status quo and bring us a more refined unfair system?  Why should he be limited to work within a framework of "haves" and "have nots"?  God has all the authority needed to re-write the rule book, and to perfect the art of grace.  God is not limited to our human definition.

Let's make Christianity about a new kind of grace.  Not the status quo grace handed out by arbitrary judges.  Not the status quo grace that is designed to be unobtainable by the masses.  Like the loaves and fishes that Jesus used to feed the crowd of common folks, let's make Christianity about a grace that spreads, levels the playing field, and brings good news to all.  Amen!

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