Friday, January 2, 2009

Grace Abounds

Happy New Year Everybody! It’s funny how much we make of a night that just flips us from 2008 to 2009. Most people look back on the year and decide to make resolutions for the next year looking forward. Last year I went out with a couple friends. It was all couples and we basically argued all night, every couple had an argument and it was just a lame way to bring in the New Year. This year I told myself I was not allowing that to happen again so me and a friend decided to go to this Masquerade Ball in a cool old train station downtown, Union Station. Tickets were $60 a head and we were dressed to the nines! That’s what begins my journey of illumination that ends up at the bar of a café downtown trying to get some breakfast the next morning.

So we walk into this master piece of architectural beauty called Union Station expectant and yet totally clueless as to what we were really going to do. There is a guy painted silver acting like a statue to our right, beautiful women all around, a table full of little snacks (pretzels, popcorn, and nuts), and beer. The table is in the back of the room giving us a clear view of all that was going on up front. Break dancers, belly dancers, magicians, and physics roamed the room giving my A.D.D. mind plenty to be occupied with. We sit and just talk for hours while we enjoy our drinks and the fact that we are dressed pretty rad if I do say so myself. It gets about 5 ‘til midnight and we decide we must get up and do something. 5…4…3…2…HAPPY NEW YEAR! Random people kissing each other all around and so we reign in the New Year at Union Station rosy cheeked and floating. I kissed a girl, like more than I would normally have and with more passion than I should have. We got white castle afterwards and I felt dizzy and a little sick, my body is not used to drinking on an empty stomach, so we march back to my friend’s house where I dive onto the couch just in time to avoid thinking about the night.

Day light breaks along with my sleep and I decide breakfast is a good option. We all go to a café and place ourselves evidently hungry in front of the waitress. This is where my mind starts to catch up from last night and I literally have an instant replay of everything that happened. Hands cover my face, my head is down in disappointment, and my stomach is roaring like an untamed beast by this point (we waited an hour for our food before we decided to get up and walk out). We get to talking and remembering the night of adventure. My mind is steadily racing and my normal million miles a minute analytical processing of everything seems to have a fat turbo on it because I am now in over drive! I didn’t do anything crazy or really dumb, in comparison to everyone else I had a rather tame night, but for me, all I could think was, “I did so bad, I can’t believe it!” After watching a movie with about 5 friends I finally decide to walk home, shower up, and get ready for the first day of the New Year.

The whole walk home, “I did bad,” just echoes in my head like a large gong in a cavern. Then I start thinking, if I think I did bad, just think of how much bad everyone else did. I get myself caught up in this bad vs. good thought process and out of the blue like a comet crashing to earth I am reminded of this:

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (exerts from Romans Ch 5).”

You get to a certain point as a Christian and you are pursuing Christ with such passion and zeal that the reality that you are just as sinful as everyone else becomes more like a mythological idea that you just have to say is a possibility. But really, you don’t think you’d screw up or do bad because, after all, you are a Christian. I think this is probably the most dangerous mindset to have though. As I was walking and just praying and talking to God, I just had to stop, look around at the beautiful city I was walking through, look at the beautiful people enjoying their first day of 2009, and thank God for humbling me. I was and still am humbled to know I can still mess up. In this new found humility grace becomes so much bigger, so much more important, and something I realize I am desperate for, something I should rely on.

Now I am thinking of how many people go through life with this right vs. wrong approach, how many Christians see their righteousness and avoiding the pitfalls of sin as something they do, and how real the war between flesh and Spirit truly is. Guilt is a cruel slave master that beats you into the corners of oppression and isolation. How many people think they are bad and feel guilty? Christian or not, the reality is that we are all bad people, there are those who just have accepted the grace. So looking back on that night and all the things I am sure would be considered sin, I don’t see a bunch of bad people doing bad things, I see the beauty of grace and forgiveness, and my hearts breaks for those who don’t know of it, who haven’t accepted it, and walk around in the warped world of right and wrong.

Right and wrong within themselves are meaningless, it is grace that abounds and frees captives, and it is grace that is stunningly more simple than right and wrong, it is grace that gives meaning to this entire existence we stumble through. I spent the rest of my day thanking God for His grace and am still amazed like a young man getting to drive a super car (Saleen s7) for the first time, I stand in awe of grace.

May you know grace! May you know there is more than right and wrong, there is freedom from guilt’s chains, and may you know grace abounds all the more where sin does...This is not to say sin to make grace abound more on purpose, but it is to say that we all fall and need it and should appreciate it all the more when we do.

1 comment:

  1. hey buddy. nice writing! and thanks for sharing what God is teaching you. Its a good lesson for all of us to learn. A hard lesson, but a good one.