Grace Revealed:”Finding God’s Strength in Any Circle

Grace Revealed: Finding God’s Strength in Any Crisis

Fred Sievert–a Book Review

Judges 2:11-19; Matthew 19:16-22

Judges is a book we do not hear of very often, only six times a year in the lectionary; It is a book about the results of not following God. The Israelite’s sin, follow false God’s and live in ways of mistreating people, largely being self centered, and wanting quick fixes in much the same way that we live today. 

Materialism and all of the ism’s are our gods. We get hooked on a feel good theology, which feels good, more like mutual masturbation, than in centering on those outside of our selves, and we stay in our little tribes. We want addictions, grief, emotional, sexual, and physical abuse to be fixed. We want homeless people off the street, and especially to give them medications and get them into treatment for their addictions.

Silvert in his book Grace Revealed: Finding God’s Strength In Any Crisis, debunks those false gods. He calls us back to the God of the Bible who  finds  God’s strength within us and calls us to be compassionate.

“Real love demands attention and dedication. You dare see someone as they really are, and connect with them in that genuineness. You set yourself up for a roller coaster of feelings, but you keep yourself strapped in until that ride reaches its destination.

Mary Magdalene loved Jesus this way. When all the other disciples had abandoned him, she stayed at the foot of the cross. When they were asleep, she ventured to the grave. There was no sugarcoating his death, and she did not avoid her grief.  

Her honesty and courage led to a new Reality, one that called her by name. “Mary!”

Easter is something you experience when you don’t avoid Good Friday. When you endure and confront your chaotic feelings when a relationship dies…a dream dies…a career dies…a body dies.

The cross is reality. And the power of Christianity is that it doesn’t avoid this death. Rather, it empowers you to embrace it so you can discover a different life, on God’s terms and not your own.

Mary Magdalene loved reality. She followed her feelings bravely, from cross to grave to a new relationship.” Rev. Greg Weeks

The thesis of Siever’s book is that real love calls us  to face the reality of the issues we face. For example sometime ago I had been hurt, and started crying sitting in church, people got up and walked away, they could not stand to see me cry, or even ask me what was wrong.  I never cried in church again. Real love calls us to away from the false gods that tell us all will be well, every thing can be fixed in a moment. to walking with people in their pain, for all of us are in pain at one time or another, all of us suffer or will suffer and we will die.  Jesus tell us in our gospel today: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. .”If you would be perfect, go sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven and come follow me. Matthew 19:16-22.”

Fr. River Damien Sims, sfw. D.Min., D.S.T.

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