Monday, July 05, 2010


I heard a sermon last week that gave me a picture of grace.  Some concepts my head knows, but my heart has trouble grasping, and one of the most troubling questions to my mind and heart has always been that problem of falling short.

"For all have sinned and fallen short," I learned as a kid.  And I learned that only Jesus measures up, and in his perfection and sinless sacrifice, there is salvation for me.  So I cling to Him...but still I see between us that chasm of sin that separates.  I confess my failures over and over, I receive His forgiveness without measure, but I despair sometimes.  I want to "be holy as He is holy."  I want the fruits of the Spirit:  love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, kindness and self-control.  I want to "be transformed by the renewing of my mind."  I want to see some improvement!

But still the chasm looms.  I know Christ is the bridge across it, but it's hard to keep my eyes off the awful, ever-present separation.

So last week, this friend, Paul R., preached at church.  We think of the distance between God's holiness and our sinfulness as a chasm, he said.  But imagine, he suggested, that separation as the distance between the places where a string is attached on either end of a violin.

There is tension created along that string, just as there is tension between who we are and who we want to be, between holiness and sinfulness, between how we view ourselves and how God views us.  But there is grace in realizing this:  A bow can be drawn along that distance bridged by one tense string, and music can be created!

That metaphor struck a chord with me.  I knew it was truth.  Out of my very failures and lackings, God can draw forth music.  Because I cannot measure up, I need Christ to be that string connecting me to God, bridging that gap, and even heightening that tension in my soul between what I so often am and what He lovingly wants me to be.  But the grace is in the music He creates from the tension.

And it's in the dance He invites me to join--the dance of grace instead of self-condemnation.  "For there is therefore now no condemnation."  "In thy presence is fullness of joy!"

Attune my ears to hear that music, Lord.

Thank you for the music you've already drawn from my life, even when I did not have ears to hear it (to my sorrow). You are always gracious with me, though I am not. Draw me close, Lord. Let my need of you be the peg that tightens the string and holds it there, ready to be played.

And may my soul rejoice in the music you draw forth!


Amy said...

Your words blessed me today. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful! Thank you. I've been reflecting a lot on John 1 lately and so struck by the words that define Jesus there: He came "full of grace and truth," and from His grace we have received blessing upon blessing. I'm praying for more of His grace to flow through me to others so that they may know His fullness!

-Karen B.

Rambling Rachel said...

His Grace is new every day! We need it and so do those annoying and challenging people in our lives.