Grace in the mirror! That is where I am going to concentrate for a moment to show that Grace has been confined to a doctrinal sentence rather than a living reality. When I worked as a Chaplain I became aware of the pressures on how students looked, particularly the girls but not exclusively so. It became very obvious very quickly that girls were taking a lot of time with hair straighteners and doing make up before they left their rooms. I don’t mean leaving the Hall, just their room. To go to the communal areas of the Residence where I lived with them meant as much work on how they looked as going to some formal event. When this effort was the same before we went on to a township building site on cold South African winter mornings while working with Habitat For Humanity. Why? My wife challenged my female students by asking that for the 24 hours before they came to a Girls Group they wouldn’t use straighteners or make up. No one made it! We haven’t even got on to fashion labels which adds more pressure and higher bills!
It is into this kind of world that I believe Grace should ease the pressure, liberate and turn the world upside down. When a young, or middle aged, or old, woman looks in the mirror in the morning does grace come out of its sentence and live in ways that change her life. Loved as you are!? Do we believe it. Magazine editors around the world and fashion houses and the cosmetic industries will bully us into what they want to define as “culturally” beautiful. Can grace interrupt such a pressure? Can we see ourselves as beautiful the way God made us and be content in the unconditional love that he lavishes on us. I know it is a huge ask but Jesus didn’t bring grace as just an idea or just a ticket to heaven. Jesus spoke and acted about this grace in such a way that the world and individual lives in it would be set free from the pressure of a first are first order of things! The psychologists tell us that our basic human needs are love and security. God’s grace brings us a love that is secure. It is not fickle like the world’s love. From its foundation a confidence will grow which will allow people to be part of the world transformation that God ultimately wants.
Grace is a scandal. It is also scandalous that Christians are walking around captive to a first are first world when liberation has been won and is at hand. Let’s set grace free to be part of every aspect of our living.