Friday, February 27, 2009

forgiveness is like water

When we stand before the throne of God we will realize more fully our utter dependence on the limitless grace of God, so the song 'Worthy is the Lamb!' shall come easy to us helpless but dignified beggars, even though we may still sing poorly. Worship may sanctify us, but true worship cannot occur apart from the experience of (and the mindfulness that) we have been--and forever will be--defined as "the forgiven ones". The depth of God's love for us is revealed in that he not only forgives the sins of the entire world, but he also continues to forgive me--imperfect me--again and again and again.

This thought should not discourage us, however, nor enslave us to fatalism, for God's unconditional grace has the power to ennoble our spirit, spurring us on to love and good deeds. So, yes, being merely forgiven may not be the final point of the gospel but we may think of it as a strange kind of beginning: it is a starting point we never completely leave behind. Forgiveness is like the circle of the day: the night shall come each day, but the world shall be turned and the sun shall surely rise again. I say again, forgiveness is like the dawn of a new day: it is the starting point to which we keep returning. It is an integral part of the fabric of eternity in the here and now.

Forgiveness is like water: though we need more than water to thrive, there is not a day that passes that you don’t need it. (Nature surely bears the imprint of death and resurrection. All creation whispers the narrative gospel of repeated redemption after repeated fall.)

If I ever meet the person that has become perfect I will likely change my view on the matter of whether or not we daily stand in need of forgiveness, but until that time I will continue to embrace the mystery Martin Luther put so well: “I am simultaneously just and sinful!”

In fact, the day I meet the person that embodies perfection is the day I meet Jesus. That day I will see truly that I had yet to learn to hide myself in him completely. That day I will likely realize the extent to which I stood in need of his forgiveness—even still. To the extent that I know this now, I can do nothing else but hide myself in him.

Strange, isn’t it? Keep seeking and make this your solitary prayer: “Show me the depth of my need for you, dear Jesus, each and every day! Amen.”

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