Honest Christianity – blinded by your grace

stormzy
This is the name of a song I heard for the first time this week. It was not on a Christian station but on afternoon Radio 2 – what an inspiring way to describe the essence of our faith. Our undeserved but God’s amazing, unbounded, unlimited generous loving kindness and goodness.

Honest Christianity is sometimes a risky Christianity, to encourage a lifestyle, mentality that could be misconstrued and take advantage of God’s liberty. Not to live under law but in the freedom of the Spirit, to know we will always be forgiven. Risky but our unique relationship with our God. Finding the right way to describe this has been the challenge of song and sermon writers over the centuries, blinded indeed
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OuTuGS3hXtM Watch the song here…

I’m blinded by your grace
I’m blinded by your grace, by your grace
I’m blinded by your grace
I’m blinded by your

Lord, I’ve been broken
Although I’m not worthy
You fixed me, I’m blinded
By your grace
You came and saved me
Lord, I’ve been broken
Although I’m not worthy
You fixed me, now I’m blinded
By your grace
You came and saved me
…….
I said a prayer this morning
I prayed I would find the way
To another day, I was so afraid
‘Til you came and saved
You came and saved me
And the rain was pouring
‘Cause the sun faded away
Now I’m in a better place
No longer afraid
Blinded by your grace
You came and saved me
I said a prayer this morning
I prayed I would find the way
To another day, I was so afraid
‘Til you came and saved
You came and saved me
And the rain was pouring
‘Cause the sun faded away
Now I’m in a better place
No longer afraid
Blinded by your grace
You came and saved me
(Stormzy)

Amen and Amen

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Wondering Wednesdays – on random words of encouragement

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Yesterday I got an unexpected email from a student with some really encouraging feedback from my teaching that day. We do an exercise that takes me a long time to prepare every year but it is a vital element of the task. I was so blessed.

At a recent Northumbria group meeting we had space to reflect on our rule and rhythm of life and one of the things I wanted to do was a monthly random act of some sort and I am keeping it up. I would have liked to have said weekly but I might forget and it could turn into a should and that would lose a dimension of being an act of grace.

Honest Christianity – grace is always greater

Prodigal
This is a quote I re-read from one of my favourite writers this week on retreat. It is from Henri Nouwen’s book about the prodigal son. He explores the story from the perspective of the prodigal, the father and the stay at home son. It is a classic and will always speak afresh or anew to me when I pick it up again.

When we think about how God thinks about and treats us, it is helpful for our mental and spiritual wellbeing, to remind ourselves that God’s goodness, kindness, mercy, forgiveness, generosity, is always for us, available and accessible even when our lives are not what they can be. As Paul asks us shall we continue to sin that grace abounds (Romans 6.1), we answer no, but we do, we remind ourselves that we do live in the benefits of greater grace.

Read or reread the book, you will be inspired by God’s favour towards us.

Wondering Wednesdays – recipient of grace

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You know when you volunteer to do something and it sounds so very simple! Well I did that and it was so very complicated! All I offered to do was be a signatory on a bank account for a charity I am a trustee of – I had forgotten how all the regulations had changed. I needed to prove who I was, I gathered all my information and went off to the post office and was told that they didn’t offer that service although their website says they do! I finally managed to find a day where I had time to visit a lawyer to get them to endorse photo id and a utility bill. I was immensely blessed when told that there would be no charge as it was for a charity!

I appreciated that Zoe had the autonomy to do that for me, not all organizations allow their staff to exercise grace in such a way, there are rules and regulations that have to be followed. It happened the other week too when I had made a mess of a rail booking, the lovely person at Virgin made it work for me without charging me extra! On both those occasions I was full of gratitude and felt immensely blessed. I get frustrated some times at work that I do not have the autonomy to make gracious decisions in response to things that students have or have not done, there are regulations and fairness to consider. But there are days when we all benefit from a bit of grace.

Honest Christianity – random acts of kindness, pale imitation of grace?

Random acts of kindness

What are our reflections on how we have lived this year and how we want to live next year? Acts of kindness will always be a positive conducive way for us to individually and corporately live. To be spontaneously nice to people is always a good thing to do but is
it good enough? Should we have a greater intentionality in our acts of kindness? Should it be a perpetual action rather than just a random one? This is how I understand grace, it is not random, it is continuous, perpetual, for all time…

Christmas, the birth of Jesus, when God became a human being, a vulnerable baby, is not a random idea and action, it was an intentional, considered response to a problem, a need, the situation the world was in.

If we are considering any new year resolutions then perhaps one might be to set our minds, spirits and actions to be intentionally generous. Wishing and hopefully contributing to you having a gracious new year.

Honest Christianity – wasteful grace?

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There is a wonderful story in Mark 14 where a women anoints Jesus with costly perfume. As I read the story again this week, I was struck by the phrase, “She did what she could” (verse 8). What a wonderful thing to be said of any of us. There is no sign of striving to impress Jesus or the others with him. She does not seem to know the significance of this gesture, she does what she can. But this doesn’t stop her from being misunderstood, but is this not the common sign of the essence of honest Christianity, grace. Did Jesus understand before she did it, did she understand? She was faithful in the next step. Grace is sometimes
misunderstood as a waste, the pouring of this oil was seen as an obscene waste.

What can we do to portray honest Christianity for 2015? Do what we can, simple generous acts of graciousness. Do what we can, do what only we can do. If we are accused of it being wasteful then maybe it might be grace.

Friday photo – great signs

stupidity

I have  friend who is blind who regularly laments at how inconsiderate people are parking on pavements and in all sorts of places you don’t expect to find a car – particularly when you can’t see them!  I saw this sign walking back to my (properly parked in a car park) car from the doctors yesterday – it was outside a store that needed access for its vans so that people could do their jobs.  While acknowledging that handicap is not a preferred word to use, the sign does highlight how expedience can make us do things that are stupid, lacking in grace and which can be harmful for other people.  This is genuinely my photograph not a funny picture I found online!