Thursday, July 20, 2006

Redemption, part one

Amy Grant (c) Realitytv.comThe evil that men do lives after them;The good is oft interred with their bones - William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar

I came across an article about Amy Grant's new album release later this year. Amy has a new disc called Time Again ... Amy Grant Live . It's a further sign that things have turned - that the pain she has lived through is healing.

I have a friend who is friends with Amy, Michael W. Smith, and Amy's former husband Gary Chapman. She was one of the people who knew directly that Amy and Gary were going to split up back in the 1990s. She told me about it, and having been divorced earlier in my life, I could relate to the pain. It's tough - tougher than a spouse dying because if they die, at least you can say to yourself "well, they're gone; that's it."

Amy is now married to country crooner Vince Gill, and they appear to be very happy together. And that's what struck me about the article announcing her live album release - that nobody mentioned their past. I thought that was kind of cool, and it reminded me that the grace of God is a country the boundaries of which stretch an awful lot farther than we think.

Many times preachers will try to scare people into doing what they want with a kind of "God's gonna getcha" philosophy of preaching. It usually has to do with hell, damnation, and eternity - all of which are real. But someone going to hell is a tragedy, because it means they missed the abundant provision for redemption that is available.

And believe me, we ALL need redeeming. I have done some terrible things in my time - okay, so I haven't murdered anyone, but I have been a pretty rotten guy. And I know some rotten guys. And I know some rotten women, too. But that's not the point - we're all rotten. That's what Jesus meant when he said "I haven't come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." The idea is that no one can earn God's favor, because no one is good enough.

That's why a Redeemer had to be provided. And that's what Jesus is and brings - Redemption.

And that redepmtion doesn't just stop with what is called "getting saved" - coming to rely and trust in Jesus. The redemption is much wider than that, encompassing all of life.

So maybe I'll get a copy of Amy's new DVD. I know my wife will enjoy listening to another high-profile singer who knows about redemption - Sandi Patti - at the Women of Faith Conference. Sandi's another one who can tell you the border of God's grace is a long way away. So maybe ol' Will Shakespeare was wrong; maybe the evil that men do is the thing interred with their bones.

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