Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Why so favored?

Mary found herself "highly favored" among women. Reading church history, I have the same feeling about anyone who is called to be God's through Christ.

There's a tendency to see our way as the right way, whether it is telling or doing - and especially so in the Church. My childhood Christian tradition is a "my way is the only way" and we would be told how to think and how to live in great detail, sometimes in response to a pastor's visit to an attendee's home. For the most part, we'd speculate who he'd visited, and then ignore the specific warning of falling away with a breach into worldliness.

Such a holiness tradition produces a hidden culture. In missionary terms, we call it a two-tier faith, where old superstitions and coping mechanisms underlie a veneer of Christianity. In American culture we'd call it "putting on a good front." We even applaud when people look like they have it all together.

Such "salvation" is not for me. I know I'm broken. Fighting for my life at times. Utterly unworthy of God's favor by anything I might accomplish or aspire to.

Knowing that makes the Christian life of hope, love, and faith all the sweeter for me. Jesus died for our sin and sins while I was still in the circle of sinners. I live in joy and peace in the world and among others like me. Our common ground as humanity is that we are sinners, even as we call others to join us in his community. Can't wait to tell the Story "of Jesus and his love."

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