using the book

21Jul09

On Sunday morning I was listening to the sermon (which was very good) and one of the things I remember was reference to the blue book. So, in the construction industry everything is ‘done’ by the blue book, be it pay, bonuses, materials, project management and I guess, whatever else you need/or it takes to build say a house or a power-station.

A couple of weeks back, and as part of the forgiveness series (you can probably still d/l it from iTunes), Rob Bell (MHBC) with the aid of some dramatists relayed the parable of the Unmerciful Servant (Matt 18:23-35).

In God’s empire, the book, the accounts ledger, suffers two fates – In the first case, it is torn up – the debt is cleared, in the second, it is applied rigidly and upheld, as is the debt and the consequences. What happens in the parable? The King says something like, if you want to do things by the book, so will I.

The book, be it the blue one, the accounts ledger or, more importantly, any other book we use as a black and white set of rules (do I need to spell it out?) can have one of two things done to it. It can be lived by, or it can be torn up.

But if we tear it up, ((are you serious?) the Blue book is essential to building), it won’t be fair, will it?

Thank goodness for things not being fair. The point I took from Sunday’s sermon, the forgiveness series at Mars Hill and Nooma 23 (see YouTube below) is that God is not fair.

God is not fair

The workers in the vineyard (Matthew 20), well, the 6am people didn’t think it was fair. The other servants in Matthew 18 who witnessed the servant’s behaviour saw an unfair and a fair response (and one concerned them greatly). Justice, in our view, is not fair. Grace, by our book, is not fair. (Or do we expect it to be applied to us, but think we don’t have to apply it in our relationships with others?)

God extends his grace to us, and likewise we need to extend that to others, and if that means tearing up a book (or two), then so be it. If it means we need to redefine what we think fairness is, then so be it.

God’s justice, fairness and grace is not a response to what we deserve, but a response of love

And, our response in return has to be love

Grace and peace

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