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David Ford proposed in a Lent Book some years ago, the Christian life involves learning to be overwhelmed well, and this will mean in the company of others, in the body of a church that weans its members from an idolatrous fixation on their own virtues – that weans them, in other words, from a Pelagian alternative whose symbol might perhaps be the stiff upper lip, and whose resolute determination not to weaken can often mask a fear of what such weakness might entail.

 

Human relationships will sometimes fail – often in small ways and occasionally in big and terrible ways. The Christian confidence is that no failure that is enacted by the embroiled human will can outrun grace. The Christian belief is that our abiding in relationship with God and one another is a ‘work’ that prospers only because God first abides in relationship with us.

And God can bind all things – including the times, the seasons and our fractured lives – not because God is one solitary and almighty will, but because he is faithful, and makes covenants, and gives himself, making an ‘us’ that will abide for eternity because it is established in the power of this infinitely responsive love.

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