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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Unforced Rhythms of Grace

I think that it is probably not spiritual to be excited when I find traces of Jesus' temptations in scripture. It is a perverse thing about humans that we feel better knowing that other people are fighting against temptation, too. Today, in Matthew 11, I saw a hint of frustration in Jesus' voice. Maybe I am projecting my own emotions into the passage, but maybe not. Jesus is in the middle of a monologue about people's opinions about the messiah and about the sin of the cities and how Sodom would have repented if they had seen the signs and wonders Jesus was performing. His monologue seems to be growing in intensity verse by verse. The He abruptly ends his monologue and breaks into prayer. After his prayer, he resumes longer angrily but tenderly. Now obviously Jesus is without sin in this passage, but I wondered if he was tempted in that moment to really, literally blast the people and had to abruptly stop to pray. I don't know....but it seems to me like a good technique to try. When I can not control my mouth any longer, maybe I should try shutting up and praying before I finish my conversations.

When Jesus was through praying, he said, "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me -watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly." The unforced rhythms of grace.... that's a word choice that I have contemplated all day. I think that I make the religion thing too complex at times. I love how Jesus says to just walk beside him and watch him at work and learn about true religion. It's just that easy - and just that hard. I am easily distracted. Then there's also the part of me that wants God to watch me work or I assume that I know where He's going and rush ahead, totally in the wrong direction. I feel like I still need my floaties on in the pool when it comes to discovering the unforced rhythms of God's grace. But I am looking forward to a lifetime of seeking to fully understand what that looks like when lived out.

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