Persistent Grace

I am going to take a short break from the E100 passage readings. Stopping here between the Testaments to take a little time to contemplate the Old Testament as a whole. Perhaps putting it into perspective a little and relating it to what I understand about my faith and the New Testament. The Old Testament is difficult for me to relate to and as a result, in the past, I have tended to ignore it. However, I am discovering that the more I examine it, test it, and put it into the context of God's love the more I can relate to it and understand it. I really like how Tim Goodfellow puts the Old Testament into perspective in an article titled "A Persistent Grace".

The Old Testament easily overwhelms us as readers. Its writings often seem foreign to us; its violence disturbs us; and sometimes we simply don’t understand what God is trying to accomplish through all of it. Yet the Old Testament becomes less foreboding if we peel away some of the layers and take a look at its underlying core. Here the Old Testament frames three significant events in Israel’s history: the Exodus, the monarchy, and the Exile. Each of these three events marked turning points in Israel’s faith and their self-awareness as a people called by God to “be a blessing” to the nations. In it all, Israel leaves us with a treasure trove of accounts of ordinary human beings (and the occasional extraordinary ones) struggling to be faithful to the calling of God in uncertain and tumultuous times. What one finds in these accounts is the story of a God unwilling to part from the world he loves regardless of how stubborn, wayward, or incompetent it is."

... When we finish the story found in the Old Testament we are left bewildered. At once, nothing has changed; yet everything has changed. God is still left with a world and a people that haven’t figured out which way is up. But the world (and Israel in particular) is left with the indelible impression of a God whose grace extends beyond the boundless reality of human failure. Perhaps what we find in the Old Testament is not so much the story of Israel but the story of God’s grace as can only be told by people who have searched for its limits and have come back unsuccessful."

... The New Testament picks up the story of Israel’s history and traces it through the life of a man named Jesus and then into the wonder and perplexity of figuring out what his life meant. Still driving the whole story is the continued message of God’s stubborn love for humanity."

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