You see, God’s grace has been revealed to save the whole human race. – Titus: 2-11
* * *
In an age that encourages diversity and individualism, we need a common point of reference – a source of definitions and concepts, a foundation on which the superstructure sits.
Language shapes thought, which in turn shapes action and emotion: it can give us, as a people, a mirror. We live within contemporary attitudes that value cynicism, detachment, irony, individualism, sensory bombardment, constant kinetic fever, compulsions, and addictions.
I believe the Bible can counterbalance that, once we liberate it from false constraints and teaching, from the exhortations of those whose hearts are filled with darkness and hate. One way to do that, as Jesus demonstrated, is to turn the verses back on them. Grace is where salvation is revealed.
Perhaps the reason so few of us have found meaning in the Bible arises from a lack of sustained silence and listening, reflection, and yielding. Even when we do face the text, we let our focus get distracted in the wrong thing, asking about Jonah’s big fish, rather than the human drama of hatred and resentment he’s entrapped in – but that part is nothing new! We criticize the patriarchal societal fabric that Naomi and Ruth manage to turn to their own service, rather than perceiving the many ways our own choices and actions are shaped by the societal framework of contemporary America. So how do we nurture grace in our daily encounters?
Now, more than ever, the whole human race needs saving.
* * *
This our spiritual Shepherd hath a tender Regard to the hindmost of his Flock; he gathereth his Lambs with his Arms, and carrieth them in his Bosom, and gently leadeth those that are young. (Elizabeth Bathurst, 1655?-1685)