It's All About Grace
The picture over there, on the right, is the Album cover for a CD with the title shown above. Ironically, given the context here, the album was recorded by the long-gone musical group Truth, which was based in Mobile, Alabama (as my feeble memory claims, anyway). In fact, they performed in our church more than once.
There are 35 or 40 people out there who probably get the connection, already, so on the off chance someone else actually reads this, I'll 'splain:
I was privileged to attend the Exploratory meeting regarding the formation of the Antioch Network of Churches. Others more skillful at communicating will post about what it was about, and what happened, so I won't get into that, here. But I'll toss out a couple of observations.
The first one is that I sat among a group of about 38 people, roughly half white and half not. And I have to tell you, there's no group of people I'd rather have been with for those two days, than the ones I was with. It was an absolute blast. What makes it ironic to me, and what causes the grace to resonate so ringingly with me, is that I was the only one I saw there that wasn't in the ministry. The people there were pastors ... one was the wife of a pastor of a "Cowboy Church" and she was deeply involved in the work (and also a CPA) ... and the others were pastors or ministry assistants. Me, I'm a college flunk-out layman, and the only layman, non-church-staff dude there.
The Grace of God? The fact that I was a believer, and the fact that I was even there, are startling (to me) reminders of the unfathomable grace of God. And the respect and lack of condescension, the acceptance, and the interaction with others there showed me that living out the grace of God in their lives is important to these folks. One and all, and not just at meetings. If I have any sensitivity at all.
Wade Burleson shared thoughts about Grace and Truth in the first session. He referred to God's giving of "grace upon grace", and contrasted that with efforts at anything which is based on "truth upon truth".
Boot up your computer bible and search on "grace" some time and see the tremendous richness of what you find.
Truth simply exists. Sure, we'll never grasp spiritual truths unless the Spirit reveals it to us, but even that revelation is a matter of God's grace!
Ephesians 2:8-9, anyone?
I had breakfast with Paul Burleson yesterday. Wow. I don't recall having that much church, even in church, since this happened last December. See, Paul had talked the evening before about the form of prayer and how he and his wife thanked God, and blessed their food at meals, in a celebratory fashion by toasting The Lord and proclaiming His provision for them, heads up and eyes open and glasses raised. I must say, we got shoutin' happy thanking God shall we say enthusiastically. I just have to say, THANK YOU, Paul. Brother. Friend.
Anyway, back on point: the meeting was all about Grace, and manifesting that in our work in particular ways. If you want any more details about the purpose of the meeting, they are, and, I'm sure, will be, well set forth at Wade's Blog.
I'm reminded of the whole lengthy episode of Bill Murray, Madelyn Murray O'Hair's son. As I understand it, the lawsuit that got prayer tossed from schools was filed in his name, as he was the student. I remember that, and all the hatred lavished on him, expressed or unexpressed, and then his becoming a Christian and being called into the ministry.
One of God's elect, and he was likely crucified hundreds, or thousands, of times in people's minds.
If you want to go on a fault-finding expedition about the ANC, I suggest you make your words sweet and palatable. You may have to eat them.
I'm betting on it.
Ironic, huh? Truth singing about Grace?