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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Spirituality: Gerald May “Grace: Qualities of Mercy” Addiction and Grace Part 1 of 8

In the arid lands that were the birthplace of monotheistic religion, the desert was a primary symbol of trial and temptation. And water, especially freshly flowing “living” water, became a prominent image of God’s grace. Just as fresh water could transform wastelands into gardens, the living water of God’s Spirit could cause love to grow within the most parched and willful souls. In the psalms, the soul thirsts for God “as a deer yearns for running waters,” “like a dry and weary land.” And in Isaiah, God promises grace: “Let the desert rejoice… For waters shall break forth in the thirsty grounds… The wasteland will be turned into an Eden… You will become like a watered garden.”

Eden, as a garden, becomes symbolic of humanity’s rightful relationship with God’s grace. It represents both our birthplace and our destiny, our home and our promised land, where we rely upon grace as our ultimate security. Addiction’s empty and idolatrous wasteland is transformed by grace into a garden of freedom and love.

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