Sara and I have arrived in Johannesburg, South Africa and are now trying to get our heads to find the same time zone as our bodies. We’re staying at the home of a dear couple I stayed with last time I was here, and got to touch base with some old friends last night, and some new friends as well.
I really don’t know who Chris Rice is and haven’t read any of his books, but someone sent be a blog of his this morning shortly after I arrived in South Africa that I want to pass it on to you. It’s especially poignant for me since I’m currently dealing with some broken relationships of my own with a couple of dear brothers who have been a significant part of my journey. The attempts I’ve made to get together and risk relational reconciliation have been spurned. That’s probably why this article touched me so.
I just don’t understand those who so easily walk away from relationships when they grow uncomfortable or difficult, instead of working through those whatever issue might exist to a greater grace and freedom. This article expresses so well God’s desire to make our relationships with others more important than ‘being right,’ and gave me focus for my own life and prayers today. I hope it is an encouragement to you as well.
And I know we’ve already missed Chris’ Grace Day for 2009, but couldn’t every day be Grace Day?
Celebrating “Grace Day”: From Trying Harder and Doing More to a Culture of Grace
“All human nature vigorously resists grace because grace changes us and the change is painful” — Flannery O’Connor, The Habit of Being
Twelve years ago yesterday, I was born again … again. After 17 years of intense church-based racial justice and reconciliation ministry in Mississippi, my gospel had largely become a matter of trying harder and doing more. And things I held dear began to fall apart.
At the same time that my African-American colleague Spencer Perkins and I were traveling the nation preaching about reconciliation, we could hardly sit at the same dinner table together at home, where our families shared daily life in an intentional Christian community called Antioch. Our long friendship and ministry partnership was on the verge of breaking up. We each held tightly to our “lists”—“you did this to me,” “well you did that to me.” The final straw was when I shared that my wife and I were considering leaving the Antioch community. Spencer blew up, accusing me of being a deserter to the cause….