I think my bike is a temple. Seriously. Not all bikes, and not because my bike is somehow different than any other bike. It seems like I can be all twisted around the axle about any number of things. I will go to meetings. I will go to church. I will seek counsel. I pray. I meditate. I read books. I write this blog. However, I will remain twisted until I ride my bike. I had a friend who used to run long distances. He said it was getting harder and harder to get a runners high. It is similar on my bike temple. IT takes me awhile to get into the right mindset to hear God, or to recognize the work being done in my head. This last ride, I had to double back and do some sections again because He wasn’t done yet.
This Sunday, I went to a new church and it was an ok sermon. I ducked out of Sunday school because I wanted to ride before it rained. I was headed home and drove by the church where my mom and sisters memorial services were. The service had just started and I decided to listen to the sermon. There was something about this guy that spoke to my mom and sister and I thought I wanted to hear it. He was speaking of Grace. He talked about how to keep Grace you needed to earn it. He told several stories about people who just didn’t understand Grace. He said, with no small amount of disdain, that one woman had actually said that Grace is like a carwash and you come out clean. He scoffed. He told of a college boy who said he felt so welcome in the Lutheran church because it wasn’t as oppressive as his Baptist roots. The boy felt that nothing he did wouldn’t be forgiven. The pastor told of his rebuke and said that God expected more out of the boy to keep Grace.
I was a little bothered. OK, I was incensed.
Grace is not a commodity. Grace isn’t earned or selectively granted. It is given freely and openly to all that will receive it. Luther himself broke from the catholic church because he felt that all you need was Grace. I have been the woman, dirty, hurting, lost, and lonely. I have needed to know I was clean. I have been the boy, rejoicing in the idea that unconditional love is not a myth. I have been blind. I have been wrong. I have been lost. I don’t want to be the person who speaks of Grace and doesn’t share it. When I pray the Lord’s prayer and ask for the Grace of forgiveness from my sins, I want to absorb the idea that I now know how to give that Grace.
As I rode my bike, I realized that I am not extending the pastor as much Grace as I would like to be extended. Shoot. I guess I will just have to accept that some people want to hear it that way.