“It seems that all my bridges have been burned,
But you say that’s exactly how this grace thing works
It’s not the long walk home that will change this heart,
But the welcome I receive with the restart”
From Mumford and Sons’ Roll Away The Stone
These words of Mumford and Sons made me literally jump in my kitchen the first time I heard the album. It is such concise theology, so well written and so profoundly true.
It is the secret of Christianity’s uniqueness. Most religions have some kind of deal with karma and balancing the good and bad we do. Christianity sits out like a freaky sore thumb with a ridiculous truth; we don’t go on a spiritual journey towards enlightenment or salvation or holiness or however you want to define spiritual fulfilment but it is the entry point. The journey starts here.
Jesus spoke about it in that story about the Prodigal Son. When he faced up to his father after squandering his inheritance on all kinds of self indulgent hedonism he didn’t even get a chance to deal with his dad. His dad puts his arms around him and throws a party for him even before he can do anything to make amends.
For the Prodigal Son it wasn’t the road that somehow earns his grace but the welcome his father gives him. Jesus didn’t only talk about this kind of grace. He shows it to the disciples who became his apostles. They were welcomed into belonging at the start of their long road to making sense of it. The woman caught in the act of adultery received the same warm grace filled welcome and then was told to go on the journey and sin no more!
Christians believe that it is not the work of a person that puts them right with God but the work that Jesus did in his life and particularly in his death and resurrection. Christ’s work puts the human right with God, we are welcomed in by grace and from there we get to work on God’s grand design to bring his Kingdom and his will on earth as it is in heaven.
As a preacher there is no better news to share than what Mumford and Sons declare right here. It is amazing grace that welcomes us in without having to earn it. Then that same grace leads us on the journey home.