Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Grace = the First and Last Word

For Christians,
The first word is grace
The last word is grace
And every day along the way is grace, grace, grace

I was reminded of this last week as I drove from Chicago to California. I was listening to a lecture series on Augustine of Hippo, that great theologian of grace, and then to a U2 CD that included the song below.

Grace is God's favor extended toward us, unearned and undeserved. Grace is the invitation extended by Jesus (and made possible by his life, death, and resurrection) to enter into the irresistible and penetrating light of God's love. And more, it is the gift of God's own Spirit working in us enabling us to RSVP. Still more, grace is the promise of the Holy Spirit working in us to bring about a radical transformation through forgiveness, healing, and the infusion of God's own love such that we may become partakers of the divine nature.

In an interview, Bono of the rock band, U2 had this to say about grace:
Bono: You see, at the center of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics; in physical laws every action is met by an equal or an opposite one. It’s clear to me that Karma is at the very heart of the universe. I’m absolutely sure of it. And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that “as you sow, so you will reap” stuff. Grace defies reason and logic. Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I’ve done a lot of stupid stuff.

Assayas: I’d be interested to hear that.

Bono: That’s between me and God. But I’d be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge. I’d be in deep shit. It doesn’t excuse my mistakes, but I’m holding out for Grace. I’m holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the Cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don’t have to depend on my own religiosity.
— The Poached Egg: Bono Interview: Grace Over Karma

She takes the blame
She covers the shame
Removes the stain
It could be her name

It's a name for a girl
It's also a thought that changed the world
And when she walks on the street
You can hear the strings
Grace finds goodness in everything

Grace, she's got the walk
Not on a ramp or on chalk
She's got the time to talk
She travels outside of karma
She travels outside of karma
When she goes to work
You can hear her strings
Grace finds beauty in everything

Grace, she carries a world on her hips
No champagne flute for her lips
No twirls or skips between her fingertips
She carries a pearl in perfect condition

What once was hurt
What once was friction
What left a mark
No longer stings
Because grace makes beauty
Out of ugly things