What Ever Happened to the Good News?
by Philip Yancy
A lmost 20 years ago Philip Yancey wrote a pivotal book asking, “What’s So Amazing About Grace?” So many of its readers had grown up in or experienced a church background that was long on “jot-and-tittle” rules, but not so long on grace. Some had never experienced either and were drawn to Faith by the refreshing promise of becoming acquainted with a God and His followers who could love, forgive, accept and offer a grace-filled, joy-filled relationship.
Using Yancey’s own words about grace:
Like a sudden thaw in the middle of winter, grace happens at unexpected moments. It stops us short, catches the breath, disarms. If we manipulate it, try to control it, somehow earn it, that would not be grace.
Instead of building bridges of reconciliation, all too often the various streams of Christ-followers seem to be digging in their divisive fortifications, driving stakes of sectarian “theological” positions. Prizing our “identities” as institutions and organizations more than the beauty of our liberating common identity in Christ, we seem to be adding our harsh voices to the cacophony of hostilities.
The timing couldn’t be better for Yancey’s new call to grace in a world so in need of it, yet one in which grace is in such short supply. Calling believers to embrace with determination the gospel mandate to be Keepers of Hope in a pessimistically hopeless climate, Yancey challenges believers to dare to trust grace to be amazing!
“Why are we here?” Yancey asks. “God wants us to flourish, and paradoxically we flourish best by obeying rather than rebelling, by giving more than receiving, by serving rather than being served.”
In short, we matter by delivering the “seed of God” to a dangerous world just as Mary was willing to do. And we will do it, as she did, in small, simple, unspectacular places and often at great risk to our own egos—and always it will be, as Andrew Peterson’s great incarnational song says, “a labor of love.”
We must not let grace vanish, and, as always, it will be underserved. That is the point of grace.