Posts Tagged ‘God’

In each of our lives, grace tries to intrude continually, attempting to shape our story into an infinitesimal but uniquely valuable part of God’s story. God can certainly do very well without any one of us. That’s a message the Reformed heritage has proclaimed with vigor. But God also delights in each one of us.

When we ask what to do about Jesus, we are invited into an inner, transformative journey that allows the unique combination of DNA that shapes our being to be joined with the foundational movement of God’s love. This seeks to shape the world into the home of God’s glory. And for any one of us, that is a story worth telling.

— Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, “Rediscovering Jesus,” from Unexpected Destinations

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Shaping our world is never for a Christian a matter of going out arrogantly thinking we can just get on with the job, reorganizing the world according to some model that we have in mind. It is a matter of sharing and bearing the pain and puzzlement of the world so that the crucified love of God in Christ may be brought to bear healingly upon the world at exactly that point.

Because Jesus bore the cross uniquely for us, we do not have to purchase forgiveness again; it’s been done. But because, as he himself said, following him involves taking up the cross, we should expect, as the New Testament tells us repeatedly, that to build on his foundation will be to find the cross etched into the pattern of our life and work over and over again.

— N.T. Wright, The Challenge of Jesus

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After all the buzz surrounding this past weekend’s non-Rapture, I remembered a story that a youth group leader shared with me back in my high school days. All I can remember is a rough paraphrase, but the message has stayed with me to this day:

A group of believers approached a famous theologian one day and asked him: “What would you do if you knew that Jesus was returning tomorrow?” He replied, “I would tend to my garden, just as I do every day.”

We don’t know the day or hour for a reason — tending to our gardens is more than enough of a challenge. Now, back to those weeds …

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Is there anything more pure, more full of wonder and hope for the future, than the prayer of a child? We find it difficult to imagine what that might be. For a child’s heart, when it forms a prayer of thanks or praise or petition, has none of the self-consciousness and ambivalence of adulthood; it is a laser beam of light and love — focused, clear, and burning with urgency.

— Gregory and Suzanne Wolfe, Circle of Grace

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South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu spoke in Tacoma recently, and one person who introduced him offered this story:

One of the speakers, Free the Children Founder Craig Keilburger, said he became more and more cynical the more he read the newspaper as a college student.

“I didn’t want to start every morning looking at that violence, that poverty … that negativity,” he said.

But when he got a chance to speak to Tutu and told him about all of the negativity in the newspapers, Tutu had called him a “silly college boy,” Keilburger said.

Tutu said Keilburger should not look at the newspaper as a collection of negativity, but as “God’s to-do list, delivered to the front door every morning.”

If everyone started seeing the newspaper as “God’s to-do list” and started working on all of the problems the headlines presented, the world could become a better place, Keilburger said.

A good way to think of the news, but that to-do list sure is long.

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God does not compartmentalize our lives into religious and secular. Why do we? I want to insist on a continuity of language between the words we use in Bible studies and the words we use when we’re out fishing for rainbow trout.

I want to cultivate a sense of continuity between the prayers we offer to God and the conversations we have with the people we speak to and who speak to us. I want to nurture an awareness of the sanctity of words, the holy gift of language, regardless of whether it is directed vertically or horizontally.

Just as Jesus did.

— Eugene Peterson, Tell it Slant

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What happens in prayer is that an awareness develops: a lot more is going on the world than I am conscious of when I am disappointed, or hurt, or frustrated, or embittered. The feelings that I have at any one moment, while important and actual cannot be interpreted accurately apart from the context of God’s action.

Meditation is an intensification of awareness, of perception. When the focus of meditation is narrowly bound by feelings of self-pity, the self in isolation, the result is an intensification of misery. But if the focus is on God in the self, on God  in history, on God in creation, the result is a magnification of grace.

 — Eugene Peterson, Where Your Treasure Is

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