The Unauthorized Biography of Rosco P. Coltrane

When it's my moment in the sun, I won't forget that I am blessed, but every hero walks alone, thinking of more things to confess

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Location: Owensboro, Kentucky, United States

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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Heavy Lifting of Grace

Window
A stain-glass window from a small country church, Newman Baptist Chuch, that I grew up in. A simpler place where I learned the meaning of grace...

I was shocked, just as everyone else was shocked, when I heard the news. A man walked into an Amish schoolhouse and never walked back out. Everyone knows the grim details of why he never walked back out and the other little girls that didn’t walk out of the schoolhouse either. The more news that came out of the small Pennsylvania Amish community, the more grim and gruesome the eyewitness counts became.

I stopped reading newspaper stories about the shootings. It just disturbed me too much.

But a few days ago, I read a small story in the newspaper that caught my attention. The community of Nickel Hills had come together and raised money for the families of the victims. But the shocking thing was that the Amish community raised money for the attacker’s family. Families passed around a hat for the family of a man who changed all their lives, and ended a few lives, forever. I began to read more and more about this act of generosity. Every newspaper I found made sure to include this incredible act of grace. Some stories reported that these grieving families even invited the attacker’s wife to the funerals of the little girls. The grieving families explained that the attacker’s wife and family had a much harder road ahead of them than they did. They offered support, care, and love at a time when most people would only worry about their own needs and lose.

Love thy neighbor. Love thy enemy. Well, in this case, they were one and the same.

In difficult situations, deaths, divorce, sickness, Christians always say that they just want Christ to be glorified. They, I should say we because I am just as guilty of it as others, pray that somehow and someway that God can be glorified throughout the difficult circumstances. When they finish pray, we walk right out the door and expect God to do all the dirty work. We always forget that the heavy lifting of grace falls on our shoulders.

We are expected to show grace just as we have been shown grace. But so often we don’t. And the reason is simple: it is usually too hard.

It is hard to love our enemies. It is hard to forgive others when we have been wronged. It is hard love people who hurt us. It is hard turn the other cheek.

I have been thinking a lot about grace as of late. I re-read Phillip Yancey’s What’s So Amazing About Grace: The Visual Edition. I have also been listening to a series of sermons, The Cross and The Sword, from a few years ago in which the minister, Greg Boyd of Woodland Hills Chuch, has the audacity to suggest that Christians become more Christ like and show grace towards the world by embracing homosexuals, abortionist, and those that we are currently at war with. His main point was that there are only two kingdoms that you can be a part of, the kingdom of God and the kingdom of the world. It was so controversial that a thousand people left the church. Why they left, I am not sure, but I think it has something to do with the fact that grace is so much easier to receive than to give.

But the more I think about it, the more I realize that God’s grace is the only thing that can truly change the world. That sweet and amazing grace is the only thing that can unite a separated world. Any religion can subscribe and promote morals and laws. The world is separated into different groups.

Republican and Democrats.

Yankees and Red Sox.

Rich and Poor.

Men and Women.

Old and Young.

Citizens and Criminals.

White and Black and Brown and Yellow and Red.

So many things separates, but grace can unite us. All we have to do is the heavy lifting. Are we willing to do that heavy lifting? The answer for most is yes, but in reality is no. But here is a group in a small town in Pennsylvania, a group that shuns almost every modern convenience and inconvenience in this world, that goes about their live doing the heavy lifting of grace. What is their secret? It is simple; they don’t live in our world. Our world invades their world with restraints, guns and ammo, but it doesn’t change their world.

They just go about their way, not conforming, but transforming.

There are lessons to be learned here, but will we ever learn? I hope so.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

son,

very good writing,you are right lessons can be learned.i would wish that i could be a forgiving as the amish people are. i could see raising money for the family of the murdering son of a bitch,but think it would take me a long time to forgive.

dar

7:14 PM  
Blogger RockinMominAr said...

Well put Lafe.

I too was very touched by the forgiveness and open grace that the Amish families showed. It is a great example for us all to live by.

What's So Amazing About Grace is an EXCELLENT book for all Christians to read and to take to heart.

Cheers....

2:03 PM  
Blogger Bluesmomma2 said...

*sighs*

Because we have choosen to live this...accepting of the unacceptable...we find that "church" is not able to accept us. I will pursue God's purpose and love my neighbor like Jesus even if it means I give up "fellowshipping" with other Christians.

10:24 PM  

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