Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Snappy Grace: Hug the Cactus

So, a few days ago I posted this on Facebook:

It surprisingly didn't get all that much interest. Which was both a relief to my sense of being too busy and a blow to my sense of self-importance. But I figured I couldn't pass up the opportunity to meditate on each of these mysterious phrases that are loaded with meaning for me. So, "Hug the cactus."

I've been moved again and again by this video. Not because I'm a fan of Robert Downey, Jr. (I am), or because I appreciate the wisdom of what Mel Gibson said to him (I do), or even because of how touching Downey Jr's intercession for Gibson truly is (it is). No, I've gone back to this video again and again because it gets repentance at a deep, visceral and practical way.

(Source: https://www.facebook.com/GrumpyOrthodoxCat)

Repentance is a lovely Bible word that has been thrown around so much it's treated like a cosmic "I'm sorry" (pretty meaningless) or becomes code for how hard we work ourselves to be holy after sinning. In fact, it's neither of those, nor any of the other "feel-bad/work-hard" alternatives that American churches love to push off on people. No, repentance is responding to the sting of God's Law to face the loving gaze of God which He offers to his beloved ones for whom Christ died. It is abandoning any hope of achievement, success, and self-improvement to surrender to the despair of self, and cast ourselves to trust in the only Source of rescue that remains: Jesus. And that daily repentance is full of discomfort, and even pain, as the very idea of hugging the cactus even sounds. But the fruit of repentance--of abandoning our self-trusting and self-saving ways--throws us into an unending sea of grace.

Anyway, hug the cactus. There's good news in it, because Jesus works in it. Grace is there.