I focus on the total sufficiency of the redeeming work of Jesus Christ on Calvary.
So begins the first chapter of The Ragamuffin Gospel by B. Manning, which we are reading together in the Book Study.
How timely this book seems to be, though it was written in 1990. Perhaps this is because the need for Grace is always so great. Manning issues a clear critique of pitfalls of human nature in culture and the church. While at times he sounds overzealous, in reality he is mostly simply paraphrasing scripture. This is a message we need to hear because we need God’s mercy and Grace so very much.
The “redeeming work…on Calvary” - what is that? We are reminded, in a time when we have so much time to be reminded, that Jesus dies on Calvary so that we might live eternally. This is a gift we are to live daily, like wearing our glasses or our watch; to live with a clear vision of the life; to live with a timely consideration of living; we must wear our Christian devotion (Christ-like-ness) like carrying a Cross. This is both the gift and the work, that Christ died for us that we might live for Him.
Manning tries hard, sometimes too hard, to press home the need for all of us to know God’s Grace, fully given to us on that Cross. I say the need because in a time of tired, anxious, sometimes confused resignation to the erratic pulse of the world, we need, in order to find peace, the steady heartbeat of love. The Grace of the Cross is the Love of God.
This book, as any book, is not a cure-all or a panacea. It is a timely invitation, with different words and illuminations, to a life filled with the clear vision of love and the regular rhythm of life eternal. No, it is not perfect, but that is ok. We are well acquainted with the imperfect. Rather it is fun, and a joy to read, in the company of searchers and readers and Brothers and Sisters.
The Gospel of Grace…reflects the furious love of God!
Father Bill Burk†