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Friday, 8 September 2017

"...That Grace May Abound."

I ask for the grace to desire to do what is right, that we be willing to let go of what is so we can more fully manifest our true selves, seeking justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly.

Romans 6:1-4
6What then are we to say? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? 2By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it? 3Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.

1) "...that grace may abound?"  " no means;" "...died to sin;" "...baptized into his death;" "...baptism into death;" "...glory of the Father;" "...we to might walk in newness of life."

2) Have to love Paul's use of language.  I love his rhetorical questions followed by an answer, "By no means!"  Once again, I wonder just how often he uses that expression in Romans!  But have we died to sin?  Really?  That's not what I perceive around me.  That's not what I experience in my own heart.  Sin keeps calling us back: anger, frustration, impatience, anxiety, fear, self-righteousness, ignorance, willing ignorance, compulsive behaviour... our culture markets compulsive behaviour, markets to, nurtures, creates... And we buy it, even while we try to deny it.  Augustine's prayer, "O God, make us holy, but not yet."  How many chocolate covered almonds have I eaten today because they were available?  Not even pretending to want to do otherwise?  If I can't not eat a chocolate covered almond, how can I claim to have died to sin?  So Paul... Its a pretty argument.  Very pretty.  Your eloquent best.  Genius really.  But I remain unconvinced that many of us mortals can really claim to "have been buried with him by baptism into death..."  But I know that you know what I'm talking about.  I do not do the good I want but the evil I don't want is what I do.  Luther, finally, said "Sin boldly!"  Not as a call to "continue in sin in order that grace may abound."  But acknowledging that if we succeed in dying to sin it is grace in us, not us, that has succeeded.

3) What is the invitation in all this?  To die to sin...  to want to die to sin... to want to want to die to sin... to want to want to want...

"Holy One, may your grace abound."

Breathprayer: "...that grace may abound."

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