A Gracious Place

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Gravity and Grace

The following excerpt is from Philip Yancey’s What’s So Amazing About Grace? (271-272).

[Simone] Weil concluded that two great forces rule the universe: gravity and grace. Gravity causes one body to attract other bodies so that it continually enlarges by absorbing more and more of the universe into itself. Something like this same force operates in human beings. We too want to expand to acquire, to swell in significance. The desire to “be as gods,” after all, led Adam and Eve to rebel.

Emotionally, Weil concluded, we humans operate by laws as fixed as Newton’s. “All the natural movements of the soul are controlled by laws analogous to those of physical gravity. Grace is the only exception.” Most of us remain trapped in the gravitational field of self-love, and thus we “fill up all the fissures through which grace might pass.”

About the same time Weil was writing, another refugee from the Nazis, Karl Barth, made the comment that Jesus’ gift of forgiveness, of grace, was to him more astonishing than Jesus’ miracles. Miracles broke the physical laws of the universe; forgiveness broke the moral rules. “The beginning of good is perceived in the midst of bad…. The simplicity and comprehensiveness of grace–who shall measure it?”

My question is, "How's your gravitational pull?" Are your desires to keep, collect, and control overruling generosity and gratitude? Are you swelling to the size of the sun, binding all your friends and relatives to orbit you? Or are you shrinking-releasing others to relate freely without the constraint of your needy expectations? Do you constantly cry, "I'm not being fed!" Or are you beginning to feed the hungry mouths all around you? Only a Gospel-saturated view of the Trinity can possibly begin to change our greed into grace.

I'm convicted as I write. As we prepare the apartment for the baby, a lot of "stuff" has to go. My desire to keep seems so much stronger than my desire to give. My attitude is especially stinky set in contrast to the overwhelming benevolence of others who are donating much needed supplies.

How's your gravitational pull?

Lord, forgive me for my selfish heart, ever demanding. Grant me the grace to stop forcing others to serve me and feed me and give to me, and help me to serve others, feed others, and give generously. Thank you for your condescension; grant me the grace to condescend.