In chapter three of this Summer’s reading selection, The Ragamuffin Gospel, Brennan Manning talks about the very heart of God’s grace for even the most lowly of us (which, by the way, is all of us).
He says, “Jesus spent a disproportionate amount of time with people described in the Gospels as the poor, the blind, the lame, the lepers, the hungry, sinners, prostitutes, tax collectors, the persecuted, the downtrodden, the captives, those possessed by unclean spirits, all who labor and are heavy burdened, the rabble who know nothing of the law, the crowds, the little ones, the least, the last, and the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
That’s quite a motley bunch! Can you remember the last time you invited that kind of crowd over to your house for dinner and fellowship?
The truth of the matter, and the very heart of Jesus’ love for all of us, is that he doesn’t base his grace on our looks, our material possessions, our careers, our bank accounts, or our prestige. He loves us regardless of how much, or how little, we have.
In fact, Jesus asks us to be small, like little children when we come before Him. Why? Because he understands that a child accepts the gift, while an adult barters, clarifies, explains, and crafts ingenious arguments for their legitimacy for the gift. As adults, mercy and grace don’t come cheap and we think the kingdom of God is an expensive endeavor.
The “ragamuffin gospel” means that “whatever achievements might bring us honor, whatever past disgraces might make us blush, all have been crucified with Christ and exist no more.” What this allows us is to be childlike again and simply accept Christ into our hearts and lives. We don’t have to justify our worth or explain away our sins.
Isn’t that an amazing gift?
We can just be us in the sight of God because, as mentioned before, Jesus is comfortable with sinners, which allows you and me to be off the hook!
It’s time to admit that we are all ragamuffins in the eyes of God and once we do that, we can truly accept Jesus’ gift of grace.