The Risk of Grace

I have been reading an excellent book lately called, The Hardest thing to Do. This novel about a monastery in the Middle Ages in England, probes into some of our deepest struggles in knowing and loving Christ. One issue the monks face is the necessity to extend grace to a former rival who comes to them begging aid, after his monastery is burned to the ground.  The monks grapple with the risk of grace. How much it could cost them to accept him into their brotherhood. How much they have to lose. And even how much they give up by succoring a bitter enemy of their now-deceased  spiritual father. The question is raised,
“Where is the beauty of the gospel without the risk of grace?” What a thought provoking inquiry! As I pondered the depths of God’s grace in the cross, and the great risk involved in extending such a precious gift, I was inspired to write this poem.

The Risk of Grace
The risk of grace is in the giving,
Without holding back,
Not expecting return.
The risk of grace is in its extravagance,
No reserve unmet,
And nothing to earn.
The risk of grace is the open offer,
The unmerited gift,
That is often spurned.

But without the risk, the beauty fades,
Contorted by expectations.
Shadowed by demands,
Without abandon the glory is lost,
Trampled by ultimatums,
Seared by “holy” brands.

For once we deserve it,
It’s no longer a gift,
And once we demand it,
It creates only a rift,

Once we redefine it,
We lead many astray.
And once we sell it,
We find we can’t pay.

Once we abuse it,
We lose sight of the cost,
Once we ignore it,
We find ourselves lost.

Once we withhold it,
We find an ache deep within,
Once we refuse it,
We sink deeper in sin.

But grace once received,
Allows us to see,
Without the risk,
We could never be free.

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