The Reformation was a time when men went blind, staggering drunk because they had discovered, in the dusty basement of late medievalism a whole cellarful of fifteen-hundred-year-old, 200-proof grace — of bottle after bottle of pure distillate of Scripture, one sip of which would convince anyone that God saves us single-handedly.
The word of the Gospel — after all those centuries of trying to lift yourself into heaven by worrying about the perfection of your bootstraps — suddenly turned out to be a flat announcement that the saved were home before they started. . . . Grace has to be drunk straight: no water, no ice, and certainly no ginger ale; neither goodness, nor badness, nor the flowers that bloom in the spring of super spirituality could be allowed to enter into the case.
Two years ago about this time of year, I was indulging in Robert Farrar Capon. And I’m going to start again. It’s a Lenten yen. His recipe as poetry for Roasted Lamb. His clownish love. That garish and loud love. His grace as cooking which finds beauty in everything.
It’s Lent. And here, one week late, I’m joining in. I’m abstaining. The thing from which I’m abstaining is neither here nor there. It could be Sponge Bob cartoons or bad theology. I could be giving up sea salt chocolate or tawny port. Or the fundy-world ubiquitous “giving up Lent for Lent.” Either way, I’m abstaining. The benefit of abstention is to know how good Good tastes. Like finding a whole cellarful of fifteen-hundred-year-old, 200-proof Grace after drinking nothing but sawdust for 40 years. So let us begin. . . .
[audio:http://220.127.116.11/~drslewis/camille/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/14-the-gospel-is-good-news-indeed.mp3|titles=14 – the gospel is good news indeed]