Old School, New School, Law and Grace, Both-And

I had a short conversation with a dear friend yesterday that stuck with me all day long and through a long drive in which I listened to an audiobook of Richard Rohr’s, thereby inviting him into the conversation going on in my little ‘ol head.  My friend and I had raised questions with each other about the motivation behind prayer  and what prayer looks like.  We talked about the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit.  Transformation vs. performance and where the former comes from, and how.  Rohr’s contributions to the discussion concerned the 9 stages of Spiritual Growth (what I’ve come to label this as going from a church-goer to disciple).  So with all this, I went into my prayers for the night.

Really, the crux of our exchange was about law and grace and the BOTH AND nature of these two attributes of our Abba Father found in the Word.  Not either-or but both-and.  We touched on the question of quantity – of how much- how much of the law was trumped once for all by Jesus?  As the ultimate and final fulfilment of the law how much of what preceeded Jesus’ life on earth informs our lives and choices – our hearts and minds – on a practical, daily living, kingdom-of-heaven-is-NOW, basis.  How are we transformed to the true self by anything other than grace?

Interestingly enough, the first reading from the Psalter this morning could not have been better for keeping me mindful of the overall question.  Psalm 119 exposes the tension between LAW and GRACE  – at least for me.  Old School. New School.  Old Testament.  New Testament.

What I found myelf doing during the reading  was subsituting – at times unconciously – ‘the law or statutes’ with the words LOVE and GRACE.  For God is LOVE and by his grace we live.  And here are a few of the verses that jumped out:

52 When I think of your   ordinances from of old,
I take comfort, O Lord.
52 When I think of your LOVE   and GRACE, I take comfort, O Lord.
71 It is good for me that I was humbled,
so that I might learn your statutes.
71 It is good for me that I was humbled,
so that I might learn your LOVE and   GRACE.
64 The earth, O Lord, is full of your   steadfast love;
teach me your statutes.
64 The earth, O Lord, is full of your   steadfast love;
teach me to see your LOVE and GRACE.

I’m not asserting that this is how this psalm or any of the Hebrew Scriptures should be read now that Jesus has come and died for all of us, once for all.  No, rather it was just what the Spirit had me do as a way to further unpack the question my sister in Christ and I were trying to answer together.

Both-And. His Word.  His truth.  His love and grace.  Both schools – old and new.  Both-and.

Praise Him.

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