Brush strokes of grace

Today we "officially" acknowledge and celebrate the life, ministry, and achievements of the late Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King.  As I was reading online news stories and blogs this morning, I was drawn to one blog in particular that was written by a woman who painted a moving picture of her response to Dr. King's life and legacy as a humanitarian and champion of freedom.

While reading her article, I realized that politically at least we were not of the same genre, yet there was definitely a connection between our desires for there to be justice in our world as well as the need to honor those who give their lives for such causes.  A section toward the end of her post immediately caught my attention:
Martyrdom can and does interpose a veil of incomprehensible goodness and nobility over those who sacrificed their lives for us.  Our own psyches seem to guard us from understanding what it means that someone has laid down his life - the ultimate act of nonviolence - for us.  Not stood up in battle for us, not fought the enemy on our behalf, but laid down - as a gift, as an offering - his life.
Processing those words, I was struck with the beauty of the imagery and how it reflects for us a glorious image of the atoning sacrifice of Christ on the cross as He laid down His life for us.  Her approach is obviously from a pacifist perspective, yet one can hardly deny that Christ Himself did nothing to defend Himself and willfully went to the cross without one effort of self-defense.  Here is the completion of her thought on sacrifice:
As a non-Christian (something I trust - utterly - that Dr. King would understand) I can't help but think of the intensity of feeling that attends Christ's sacrifice, and wonder what might be easier about imagining that not an ordinary human being, but a singular and divine entity, has done such a thing for you, and for me.
Did you get that?  She is not a follower of Christ, yet as she reflects on the sacrifice that Dr. King gave for the cause of civil rights she can't help but compare that to the most intense and wonderful sacrifice that Christ - a divine entity - gave to us. 

I'm not sure how someone who is not a Christ follower can so clearly grasp the enormity of His atoning sacrifice and is not moved to utter repentance and surrender by the thought.  This is not an attempt to chastise her in any way (I love her grasp of it all), I just have to wonder out loud what the reasons are as to why someone can see so clearly the picture of our Jesus and not be moved to give their all to Him. 

Perhaps this should serve as a clarion call to those of us who are in Christ.  This writer obviously sees this Christlike qualities in Dr. King and is moved by them, but is she seeing them in other Christ followers today?  Maybe she has no contact with other believers or maybe her heart is so darkened and hardened that even if we were to pull alongside of her and broaden the brush stroke of grace that she is glimpsing, it would no further budge her soul.  But maybe it would.

Our world is moved by truth and compassion and sacrifice.  They understand these concepts but only as they flow from a man-centered view of reality.  As a follower of Christ, I can chose to spiritualize these concepts to further widen that gap and selfishly hoard them with fellow believers, disdaining that the lost world just doesn't get it.  Or I can choose to leave the comfort of my four-walled belief system and engage those who are seeking truth, living my life with redemptive purpose among them, helping them to connect the dots between what they are perceiving in their hearts with the reality of Christ, the ultimate truth and giver of grace.

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