Monday, August 10, 2009

Amazing Grace

Caution! Religious Content!


(by R.P.Edwards)

It’s hard to conceive
It’s rare to believe
Something for nothing
Just merely…receive
No earning
No striving
No works showing worth
No treasures of man
No toils of earth
There’s only acceptance
…and done
The gift of God’s grace
The vessel…His Son

I was at work, sitting in the break room and, as I leaned back against the adjacent wall I leisurely propped my right elbow on the table, lifted my forearm and, for some reason, gazed at the fingertips. I noticed (although this was a nearly subconscious act) that all the nails were as you’d expect, except for the one attached to the little finger…it had a peculiar crease. “Hmm…curious,” was my response and, since none of the others seemed thus afflicted, I began a somewhat shallow reasoning exercise. “Perhaps it’s a sign of a deeper malady (as you get older you think of such things). Or, perhaps the result of an injury (I am a laborer after all).” And, as I pondered the “point,” I then began slowly scanning upward to the first knuckle…and then I saw it…the scar.

It was approximately twenty-five years ago, and I was a student at a small Christian college in Fresno, California. While there a manager of a turkey farm (ranch?) outside of town had pity on “we” impoverished married students. Here was his proposition: come to the farm, slaughter some turkeys, take home some grub. Sounded simple…but, oh, it was not. First of all, for this suburban soul, I was not used to being around a maddening crowd of white-feathered gobblers. And then there was the slaughtering process [the faint of heart may want to turn away]. We students (there were a handful) were each given a club-sized section of two by four. We were instructed to bean the hapless bird (particular ones selected by the judge; one per customer) and then apply the blade (provided) to complete the kill. Well, let’s just say my “technique” was lacking and, when all was done, I “did” end up with some choice turkey breast, but the foul was not the only one who bled that day. A turkey talon to the midsection produced a nasty scratch (never wrestle a desperate entrée) and my knife wielding cut he…and me. Thus…the scar.

Pardon the segue: Have you ever heard of the eighteenth century fellow by the name of John Newton? If not, I guarantee you that you’ve heard a song he wrote over two centuries ago…Amazing Grace. You see, although his later years were exemplary, honorable, devout; his early manhood was anything but. Described as arrogant and vile, for a time he even made his living in the cruel slave trade. However, through a series of events his eyes slowly turned to the Savior of his mother, and yielding to Him…an overflowing heart penned the words…”that saved a wretch like me.” Yes, in the person of the cross-bearer…he found forgiveness. And the lost…became found., and the blind…began to see.

Here’s my point: I fear in my intermittent railings against the sins of the nation, I may have placed an undue burden on the reader. Without apology I confess my belief that God’s blessing determines our nations future and, since nations do not have “souls”…their judgment is now. However, please allow me to remind, that it is not so for the individual. Like John Newton, and millions of others (myself included) there is a release of guilt, condemnation, torment…when our sinful lives are placed at the feet of Jesus. Whatever dreadful deeds we may have done (indeed, the scripture says “all” have sinned) God’s “Amazing Grace” is sufficient for complete absolution. Leaving, if I may, only a simple scar...devoid of the pain, and the horrible anguish of the moment and its consequences, it serves merely as a marker, a simple reminder of what was…and is no longer. Yes, God’s loving grace is amazing and, dear one, if you haven’t already, He’s there beside you…awaiting your call.

Thank you for your indulgence.

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