Thursday, May 8, 2014

Our Three Responses to Grace (typically)

The video clip below is from my Wednesday, March 26, 2014 presentation at Rockbrook UMC in Omaha, Nebraska. In it, I tell the audience about an experience I had the Sunday before Lent.  

On that particular Sunday, my husband and I had arrived early for the evening service.  After finding seats, a member of the staff approached us and asked if I would read the scripture lessons during worship. When I told her that I would be glad to help out, she handed me two pieces of paper, one of which contained Psalm 131 in a translation that was unfamiliar to me-
"O Lord, my heart is not proud nor my look haughty; I do not aspire to great things or to do what is beyond me; But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.  O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time on and forevermore."
I almost burst out laughing when I read the second stanza because I do aspire to great things and I do over-reach.  It was a convicting moment, and it was the start of a process in which I moved from repentance to faith to holiness in the space of a few minutes as the service started.

Repentance-Faith-Holiness is the order of salvation in the Wesleyan tradition.  It is the analogy of faith that Wesley followed when he interpreted scripture, and it is how he characterized Methodist Doctrine.  It is the succession of responses that one typically has to an experience of grace when belief is new, and it is a repetitive sequence throughout the stages of the spiritual maturation process.

I shared this experience with the good folks at Rockbrook because I think it's illustrative of what I mean by Wesleyan Spirituality, and because I'm looking for new terms, something other than repentance-faith-holiness, to describe our typical responses to God, and I was hoping that the audience would tell me about similar experiences that they had had and what terms they use when they describe those experiences to others.

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