Still Stuck on Grace

Here it is Sunday morning and I’m still thinking about last Sunday where we talked about grace. I’m still thinking it all through. Something that has really lasted this week was what we began the sermon with last week – a quote from Mrs. O’Brien in Terrence Malick’s new film “Tree of Life”. She says this:

“There are two ways through life, the way of nature and the way of grace. You have to choose which one to follow. Grace doesn’t try to please itself. It accepts being slighted, forgotten, disliked. Accepts insults and injuries. Nature only wants to please itself, and get others to please it too. It likes to lord it over them. To have its own way. It finds reasons to be unhappy, when all the world is shining around it, when love is smiling through all things. They taught us that no one who loves the way of grace ever comes to a bad end. I will be true to you, whatever comes.”

The more I reflect on this quote the more I think it’s a challenge of the Kingdom. In Matthew 20:1-16, Jesus clearly shows that he runs his Kingdom on Grace. The challenge is that he is clear that if we don’t live by grace, we may find ourselves at odds with his Kingdom. As Malick says, making an illusion to Jesus, there are two ways through life, grace and nature and we must choose our path.

I believe that is the question for you and for me that I am still reflecting and grappling with. That, if the Kingdom truly runs by grace, if its rule is grace, its way of life is grace, then the implicit challenge is: are we living by grace?

Would your friends and neighbors say you give grace? Would your family characterize your life as a life of grace? What about the people who meet on the road driving to work? What about the cashier?

There are only two ways through life, one of grace and one of nature. And Malick is right, “No one who loves the way of grace has ever come to a bad end”. Because Grace is the way the Kingdom runs…

Movies, Grace, Nature, and the “Tree of Life”

This week we are going to be looking at a parable about God’s grace.

Grace seems to be something that is so familiar but so misunderstood. Grace is a word that we hear and see often. It’s a girl’s name, a title of U2 song, something we say before meals, and something that’s mentioned in churches a fair bit. And more recently the academy award nominated film “Tree of Life” by Terrence Malick is all about grace.

His film is a brilliant exploration of the two ways of living: by grace, or by “nature”. By nature he means what comes naturally to us, living out of strength, and our own preconceived ideas of fairness. Nature is the opposite of grace.

So my question for you this morning: is what does a life lived by grace look like? And the opposite what does a life lived in the way of “nature” look like? How do you know when someone is living out a life of grace rather than nature?

And lastly and probably most importantly – are you living your life in the way of grace? Or are you living it in the way of nature?

Come Sunday we’ll be looking about both – but why not start the discussion a bit early…