i love it when something i am thinking about (and not really doing a good job at the “thinking” part) winds up in a really well written article... (click here for the really well written article OR read my ramblings below, you should do the “click here” part if you appreciate good writing)...
yesterday, i was getting all riled up in the total UNFAIRNESS of this aig thing and the housing market debacle where i hear that people who aren’t paying their mortgages are getting 2% loans and we are trying to refinance for a 5% and we have been paying our mortgage ALMOST every month (just kidding, we have paid it every month, ALMOST on time too, hee hee hee).
a lot of thoughts like this .... WE bought a house we could afford, THEY did not. WE don’t get a nice million dollar bonus if my husband’s company doesn’t make money, THEY get MILLIONS on top of salaries that are MILLIONS, even while their company is losing MILLIONS. WE are rule followers who have done everything RIGHT, THEY are rule breakers who have done everything WRONG, WE are paying for THEIR mistakes...
can you tell i was getting all worked up over this.... a lot of WE and THEY and MILLIONS floating around in my brain...
and then i heard this song (i am in a big “hymns in the car” phase, don’t worry i will be back to pop music in the car soon and this thinking will all be a thing of the past).
There Is A Fountain (click here to hear it sung by selah, the version i was listening to)
There is fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Emmanuel’s veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood
Lose all their guilty stains.
The dying thief rejoiced to see
That fountain in his day;
And there may I, though vile as he,
Wash all my sins away.
E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream
Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be ’til I die.
When this poor lisping, stammering tongue
Lies silent in the grave,
Then in a nobler, sweeter song,
I’ll sing Thy pow’r to save.
and you are so wondering how the two things go together...
well, first of all i must confess that i DO NOT really like the first two verses. i am not a lover of the “blood songs”. (my friend, karen, is now laughing because she remembers well those “bloody sundays” when we would sing ALL blood songs in church and i would complain...)
BUT i LOVE the third and fourth verses. and that line about “redeeming love has been my theme”, well that line just speaks to me... i love a good theme. in a movie, in a book, in a room design, but especially in a life well lived. and i do long for a day when my poor lisping, stammering tongue lies silent and i have a nobler, sweeter SONG to sing (and a perfected vocal range to sing it in)...
and yesterday as i listened to the song while in the car it was the second verse that hit me really hard...
because i was that thief. and not just in some philosophical way...
i stole TWICE yesterday.
don’t you love a good confession in the middle of a blog?
this is what happened.... first i was at publix. i unloaded my cart and checked out and then on my way out of the door i picked up my purse and lo and behold there was a box of benadryl under it (it is allergy season you know) and i had not put in the queue to pay for it. so i had to go back in and give it back to the checkout guy. and the whole time i am just congratulating myself on my honesty and thinking how VERY MUCH BETTER I AM than THEY who got those MILLIONS of $$$$$$$$$$$ of bonuses. oh, yes... i am certainly God’s favorite. in fact, i am amazed that He can run this universe without me.... why in the world didn’t everyone in publix start applauding for my virtue and award me “customer of the century”? they must have been stunned and are now telling their grandchildren about my virtue. right after they are all baptized into the faith because of my righteousness...
you see where this is going don’t you?
so later in the day i was at the fabric store buying some fabric and thread and ribbon stuff to make some skirts for rosie (she loves this one peasant skirt pattern that i can make fairly easily) and i had the fabric that we had already bought online in a baggie and we had matched some thread with it and i had stuck that thread in the baggie so it didn’t roll around the cart and it didn’t get in the queue either and it didn’t get paid for. and when we were back in the car and starting to pull out of the parking lot, rosie asked if we had paid for the thread since it was in the baggie.
and it hit me that we hadn’t. and it hit me that i needed to get home, maxx and millie would be arriving home to a locked door any minute and i had a dessert to make for dessert delight night at raa. and i didn’t want to park again and walk in again. especially since i had NOT gotten a standing ovation for my honesty earlier that day at publix. what does it matter?
and i lied to her. and i left with stolen thread.
and i heard that hymn playing.
and i heard this line.
“and there may i, though vile as he, wash all my sins away...”
and i was the dying thief. literally...
she who will steal thread will steal millions of dollars. she who will lie to her child will lie to everyone in america. i am that thief, i am that liar. i am those people at aig. i am the ones not making the payments on a loan that i could not afford.
“redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till i die.”
i am going back to jo ann’s and pay for my thread today. but that doesn’t make me any different that THEY. it doesn’t turn my filthy rags into righteousness...
All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
we have all been given an OUTRAGEOUS BONUS THAT WE DID NOT DESERVE AND COULD NEVER EARN.
this is the season of INCOMPREHENSIBLE UNFAIRNESS to thieves and liars, to cheaters, to the arrogant, to the incompetent, to the greedy, to the worst of the worst who think they are the best of the best...
all of which is me.
romans 5: 20-21 (the message)
All that passing laws against sin did was produce more lawbreakers. But sin didn't, and doesn't, have a chance in competition with the aggressive forgiveness we call grace. When it's sin versus grace, grace wins hands down. All sin can do is threaten us with death, and that's the end of it. Grace, because God is putting everything together again through the Messiah, invites us into life—a life that goes on and on and on, world without end.
“The very people who have brought a busload of problems on themselves and the planet — for the sins of the parents are visited not only on the children but on the neighbors as well — these are the very people who are offered the bonus of redemptive grace. It's a mercy enough that the likes of us — foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless — should receive the salary of common grace. But now a bonus of saving grace is offered to those who have made mistakes "on a scale few could have ever imagined possible." Who can understand it?” (from “the scandal of the aig bonuses” by mark galli)
proverbs: 8:12 (the message)
I love those who love me; those who look for me find me....
My benefits are worth more than a big salary, even a very big salary;
the returns on me exceed any imaginable bonus.
psalm 98:2-3 (the message)
God made history with salvation,
He showed the world what he could do.
He remembered to love us, a bonus...
the gospel of scandalous grace, of a reward that we did not and could not ever earn. of all the scandals in the news today, this one should really be the headline....
WHILE WE WERE STILL SINNERS CHRIST DIED FOR US. (romans 5:8)
romans 5: 6-8 (the message)
Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn't, and doesn't, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn't been so weak, we wouldn't have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him.