Spark *

uniting.loving.being

spark prayer journey #5 – naive grace

Posted by sarah hill on August 8, 2008

Today I want to share a little from a book I read a few years ago, but this particular chapter has always stuck with me…the wonders of God’s grace just blow me away as I think about all he has given me the freedom to have and do despite what I’ve done.

“A few years ago I asked some friends if they would have their two-year-old daughter, Alana, colour me a page out of her colouring book. When Alana coloured, she never worried about lines, realism or symmetry. It never occurred to her hat something could be wrong with her work. Alana coloured the page, and she brought it to me just before the Sunday morning worship service.

She was very proud and excited, anxious for my response. I did respond, in the same manner i imagine most of us would respond: I lied.

“Oh, Alana, thank you for this beautiful drawing. It must have taken you a long time and it’s very special. Thank you again.”

Of course, part of me was thinking, This is terrible. Is red the only colour you could use? How about yellow?  Blue?  Green?  None of your strokes are even close to being within the lines. What’s the matter with you?  Take this back and draw it again-only do it right this time!

But i couldn’t criticize Alana, in part because she exhibited grace, he grace of a child who knows it’s ok to colour outside the lines.  Was she naive?  Sure.

Most of my life I heard the message loud and clear that Christianity was all about colouring within the lines and colouring well. If I was a good Christian, if I loved Jesus and wanted to please Him, if I read my bible, prayed, and went to church, then I would get better and better at colouring. And if i lived a long and godly life, I would eventually be able to draw close to the perfect drawing.

Wherever that message came from, it was a lie. I am fifty-five years old, and my colouring still looks like Alana’s.

I believe God looks at my colouring and says, “Hummmm. You certainly like the colour green! Lots of passion in this stroke. I like it.”

Even as I write those words, i can hear the concern of those who worry about others misunderstanding the gospel. “You’re not suggesting, are you that nothing matters to God? Certainly, God has standards.”

What I am suggesting is that God’s grace is so outside the lines o our understanding that we can only stand in awe and wonder. Christianity is not about learning to live within the lines; Christianity is about the joy of colouring. He grace of God is preposterous enough to accept as beautiful a colouring that anyone else would reject as ugly.”

– Taken from Mike Yaconelli’s “Dangerous Wonder.”

What an awesome freedom we have in Christ, free from constraints of sin thanks to his death for us. Today let’s thank God for the freedom he has given us in his son and the grace he has for us in it. As we look ahead to tomorrow-the start of Spark ’08, pray that God will show you the full freedom you have in him, that you will feel completely yourself as you serve him on the streets, free to do exactly as he has planned.

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