Grace pours down...

If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, 
Lord who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness, 
so that we can, with reverence, serve you.
(Ps. 130:4-5)

Thank You Lord, for forgiveness, for grace.
Thank You for being "the lifter of my head" (Ps. 3:3)

Sin is real
Shame is real and can be so crippling
But You
Offer forgiveness
Don't want to
Are not willing to
See us forever bowed down

And the body
The Christian community
Should be a place that lives this out
Where we can come broken, contrite
And find acceptance, warmth, forgiveness
And strength to go on

Thank You for forgiveness and grace
Thank You for a body that lives this out
Thank You for family, that is real with each other

Semi-related thoughts that have come on this: 

I was tempted, yesterday, to not go to the Bible study. "What's the point?" I hadn't prepared (done my homework, hadn't even read the chapter, only listened to it once or twice. Certainly hadn't prayerfully considered the questions or written anything down). Didn't even have my notebook to write down the thoughts of others. And...I was late...but, I somehow still thought it was good to go.

Then, I had a memory, from 20+ years ago--sitting in church in a weeknight Bible study. The rows of chairs were facing forward. My dad was leading or teaching, sitting in one of the front rows, but not facing the people straight on. He was angled back toward them so they could hear him, but he was looking at the floor the whole time. It bugged me that he didn't look at everyone. I kept wanting to get his attention, thought of writing a note and handing it to him, "Look up, look at the people."

I don't know when we talked about it...maybe that night in the car going home. 

What he said, "You know [my name]..." and then what came was just how low he was feeling right then--how broken down, struggling, hurting. I didn't know the details, still don't, but I've later heard more of the stories and struggle from those years...

And I thought (and I STILL think), "What a shame!" The church should be the place where we can come and share our struggle, our brokenness. This is where we can come to learn to live out the reality of this Book we read, these truths we hold to. If we can't come and wrestle it out here, with these people, pray tell, where and when DO we learn to live out these truths? 

How sad, then, that my dad couldn't be real about the struggle. How sad, then, that there were very few being real about faith intersecting with life, and the learning to live it as a Christ-follower. Ah--when it would get talked about--when things got to an extreme--a "fall," a need for church discipline...  

I hope we are doing better now. I think we are.

It makes me wonder--how did I become one who would be vulnerable and real about it all? When and how did I realize--that if this faith is real, if this God is real, then He must also be real in the reality of need to hide it, or cover it...

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