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2.02.2007

The Cost of Grace

Dietrich Bonhoeffer -

"Through the call of God, men become individuals… Every man is called separately, and must follow alone. But men are frightened of solitude, and try to protect themselves from it by merging themselves in the society of their fellow-men and in their material environment. They become suddenly aware of their responsibilities and duties, and are loath to part with them. But all this is only a cloak to protect them from having to make a decision. They are unwilling to stand alone before Jesus and to be compelled to decide with their eyes fixed on Him alone…. It is Christ’s will that he should be thus isolated, and that he should fix his eyes solely upon him."

"Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the Cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.

"Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will gladly go and sell all that he has. It is the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods.

"Costly grace is the Gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock. Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner.

“It is the characteristic excellence of the strong man that he can bring momentous issues to the fore and make a decision about them. The weak are always forced to decide between alternatives they have not chosen themselves.”

Question: What is the greatest gift we can ge given?
Answer: A relationship with Our Father/God - our "Daily Bread" - His "Will" for us.

Question: How many people, adults, have this gift available to them, really?
Answer: In my experience - very few; they/we just don't hear, are not aware of hearing even a murmer from Him.

Question: What is the greatest tragedy that could befall someone, and befall their loved ones?
Answer: That a person blessed with the ability to hear His Will, even very faintly at first, turn away instead. "But men are frightened of solitude, and try to protect themselves from it by merging themselves in the society of their fellow-men and in their material environment." Thereby they deprive themselves of Life, and deprive their loved ones of the greatest possible hope - Life. A candle goes out.

"If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple." (Luke 14:26)

[Yes, this one I wrote specifically with you in mind. :-) Love, Brother jay]

Action Springs from Readiness for Responsibility

“Action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility.”

“To deny oneself is to be aware only of Christ and no more of self, to see only Him who goes before and no more the road which is too hard for us.”

“It is the nature, and the advantage, of strong people that they can bring out the crucial questions and form a clear opinion about them. The weak always have to decide between alternatives that are not their own.”

“One act of obedience is better than one hundred sermons.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

1.31.2007

"Father's Will" is a way of Life: Physical properties

Hmmm. This is a working piece for me - as I try to understand what I am learning through this recent walk / adventure.

Living "Our Father's Will"=God's Will=Goodness=Humanity (what through prayer/contemplation/meditation I IMAGINE it to be) has predictable properties / outcomes.

What do I mean? A few examples.
* David Dellinger is in Mid 1960's Fla talking at a church in a positive way about the Cuban revolution. Cubans hating the revolution swarm in threatening violence. One smashes Dellinger in the back of the head. He responds by turning to face the attacker and extending his hand in friendship. Instead of a fight, dialog ensues.
* jay 30 days ago left the US culture of competition, greed, stuff, addiction; left with what he had left after paying his last debts - nothing but bus fare and some clothes. Making not one request for help of anyone he has received:
- a donation of $200 beyond the price of a laptop he was selling [thought I didn't notice? :-) ]
- personally donated food all but two of those days
- Warm clothes and a sleeping bag
- A new warm jacket
- Offers of lodging on cold nights
- Encouragement from some of the Park Police and Secret service....

What is going on here? Our Father's Will/God/Goodness is predictably (there is NO CERTAINTY in ANYTHING in life) called forth in the face of extreme Humanity/Brotherhood. EXTREME Humanity/Brotherhood.

When we Heroically, Extremely exercise our own Humanity/Good/God/Brotherhood the odds increase from near zero that others will begin to exercise theirs.

Our religion in this society is to place as much insulation between us and God/Good as possible! WE DO NOT BELIEVE IN GOD/GOOD/OUR FATHER'S WILL. We do not trust in Good/God/OUR FATHER. "I'll take care of myself, of my own!" Thereby we kill Good/God/OUR FATHER through atrophy in ourselves and starve it in others.