Friday, January 13, 2012

steeped in God's favor

If you put a hoop in front of me, I will jump through it, and I will bow for applause.  I loved getting report cards with all A's.  I like to be seen as talented and accomplished.

I can almost imagine that God uses the same standards to judge me, too.

Full of energy and health, I might well be able to accomplish many pious-looking things.

I might be able to buzz along on a treadmill all day long, sure that that God gives A's for effort.

I might cheerfully pretend that He ignores the pervasive selfishness in my heart even as I work "for Him."

I might be quite impressed with myself for measuring up to my own standards, especially if I close my ears to His.

But suddenly there's a bowling ball on the treadmill-- a crisis, a seizure, a bout of depression, a trial-- and before I know it, I am flat on my face with a bruise on my knee and tread burn on my face. And I'm not getting back up any time soon.

No more walking, forget running.

No loving God and neighbor while I'm nursing my own wounds.

No more meeting my own awesome self-imposed standards.

No more pretending to meet God's standards, either.

- - - - -

Epiphany Sunday is the time for talking about the wise men and their journey to Jesus.  They investigated.  They traveled.  They sought.

And then, they found.
And they didn't wait to receive congratulations. Instead, "they fell down and worshiped him."

Why? Because in beholding the living Christ, they realized God's grace was not a reward for their work, but a free gift.  In Jesus, they saw the extravagant love of God-made-flesh, and they realized that they were standing in God's favor.  Standing right in it.

They were standing in grace.  It poured on them like streaming light.
God's favor.  God in the flesh.  God's word of gospel and redemption.

This is the thought I have carried with me this week.

In Jesus, we are standing in God's favor. 

In Jesus, God's love and grace surround us like air.
This is true whether we are standing, OR lying on the floor.

In Jesus, we are covered in God's favor.

I am always amazed at his generous love for me, especially when I cannot even get on the treadmill.

His light and His favor do reach all the way down to the floor.  

And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, god and frankincense and myrrh.

Matthew 2:11

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