New Perspectives on the Way of the Cross | February 21 to March 20

Psalm 101, 109; 2 Samuel 14:21-33; Acts 21:15-26; Mark 10:17-31
What must I do to inherit eternal life? ‘More.’ The answer is always, ‘More.’
The rich young ruler who asks the questions thinks that somehow he can obligate God to be on his team if only. If only I get the rituals right, say my prayers enough, avoid a list of sins, know the secret truth, build a new Sunday school wing for the Temple. God will have to owe me. Right? But friends, that’s not how it works. God’s grace is a gift, not a debt owed. You can’t earn it. And so, when the question is, ‘what must I do?,’ the answer will always be ‘more.’
Sound theoretical? It’s not. It’s the same with ‘what must I do to be loved by,’ or ‘accepted by,’ or ‘approved by,’ or ‘understood by X?’ Those things, friends, are gifts given, not debts owed. What must I do to be at peace? Gift. So much of what we want as humans is simply a gift, extended to us all the time and too-rarely taken because we’re busy trying to make it our due rather than saying ‘thanks’ and unwrapping it.
Off to a biopsy this morning, a big, big biopsy. Results will dictate some portion of my day for every day of the next few years big. And I know that the results are not mine to change, only mine to accept. I can let that gnaw at me, or accept it–before I get them, after I get them. If they’re unexpectedly great news, I didn’t do anything to earn that, it’s a gift to be grateful for. If they’re grim and dire, I can’t change that (can come up with a treatment plan, of course–I’m no fatalist), but still can find peace and joy in the days I’ve got. Because friends, whether I like the news or not, every day is a gift, every relationship is a gift, inner peace is a gift, and if I’m striving to earn it, I’m not accepting it on its own terms. What must I do? I must say ‘thank you’ and stop trying to earn unconditional love, unconditional life, unconditional joy.
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Steven Wilson

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Grace Church is the oldest Episcopal parish in the four states area.
Rooted in worship of the Risen Christ, we draw our understanding of His commandment to love one another from Holy Scripture, reason and tradition—and we encourage our membership actively to seek a deeper personal relationship with Christ, a relationship founded in love of God and of neighbor.

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