by Ken Rolheiser
From grass to Grace in the birth of Jesus

"Naked I came from my mother's womb,
naked I shall return” (Job 1:21)

We spring into life in a natural way. We move with nature’s rhythms and we follow the whims of our inclinations; like grass, “In a field / Behaving as the wind behaves” (T.S. Eliot, “The Hollow Men”).

But there is more to life. We know, inherently, (from the Latin word meaning adhere to, with the root haerere meaning to stick) that there is something within us, something essential that is more than grass.

We move from grass to Grace; from the primordial (first order) ooze, from which we spring up, towards the immortal reality. Sinner to Saint, we move. From nature’s will to God’s will, we move.

Scripture reminds us of our mortality, our utter helplessness without God:
“You brush men away like waking dreams,
They are like grass
Sprouting and flowering in the morning,
Withered and dry before dusk” (Psalm 90:5-6)

“Man last no longer than grass,
No longer than a wild flower he lives,
One gust of wind, and he is gone,
Never to be seen there again;” (Psalm 103:15-16)

We can choose to be “hollow men”, “stuffed men” as in Eliot’s poem.
“Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass

In a field
Behaving as the wind behaves”

This was our world, our fate, until God intervened with the prophets and the birth of Jesus. Then the world changed forever.

In her book From Grass to Grace, Esther Obasi-ike, “reveals different dimensions and levels of Grace. She narrates life stories of men and women graced by God. This Revelation informs the reader of the reality of grace and how best to embrace the incomparable grace of God.

“God's grace is an indescribable and unspeakable spiritual gift such that everyone should have a first hand encounter of this amazing love. The stories of Creation, Revelation and Redemption are conceived, born and sustained by Grace. Through the ages we see grace in action as individuals, families, communities, nations and the world at large resound their walk with grace.” (Internet source)

Our growth is our task. With heaven’s help we move from that spiritual infancy at birth, where we were literally bare or empty; to the finished product, the Saint, the Immortal being.

Our tools come from God: “Blessed be God the Father... who has blessed us with all the spiritual blessings of heaven in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). Paul lists other gifts: our freedom from sin, and the riches of His grace.

And when is this task, this growth complete? When we have laid down our lives in service to the final degree. In the life of Jesus we see the completion of the human movement to Grace, to the Divine. When he had done all that was to be done, including giving up his life on a cross, Jesus said, “It is finished.” (John 19:30)

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