Sepulchers of Shame or Sanctuaries of Grace?

If you are a church-goer, for much of your life you have come to church and been slain with guilt.  Churches can so quickly become sepulchers of shame, blame-shifting, and hostility rather than sanctuaries of grace.

The Catholic apologist and contemporary of C.S. Lewis, Dorothy Sayers’ writes about the oft-embraced view that the church has of God:

“He is omnipotent and holy.  He created the world and imposed on man conditions impossible of fulfillment; He is very angry if these are not carried out.  He sometimes interferes by mean of arbitrary judgments and miracles, distributed with a good deal of favoritism.  He like to be truckled to (submitted to slavishly) and is always ready to pounce on anybody who trips up, or who is having a bit of fun.  He is rather like a dictator, only larger and more arbitrary” (Creed or Chaos, p.21).

Contrary to this oft-embraced view of God, the prophet Isaiah offers us this simple, beautiful picture of how our God views us and his relationship with us.

Isaiah 62:5 —  As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.

Zephaniah 3:17 – The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

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