A month or so ago Nik Wallenda successfully walked across Niagara Falls on a tightrope. I watched the stunt on television. It is pretty impressive to walk across any tightrope and maintain balance, let alone doing it over Niagara Falls.*
I say this as one who has visited Niagara Falls on two different occasions. If you have never been, it is well worth the trip if you have a chance to make it.
Yet a visit to the falls is more than just a visual experience. To view the falls from both the American and Canadian sides of the border you must cross over the gorge on a walking bridge, allow for even more breathtaking views. As you visit, you can feel the water mist and feel the change of temperature, which makes the place cooler in the summer and extremely cold in the winter. Then there is the sound, the constant roar of over five-million liters of water per second pouring over the falls into the gorge. The sound of that water falling is heard as far away as the city of Buffalo, New York which is approximately fifteen miles to the south of Niagara Falls.
To say the least, the beauty and power on display is something to behold. It also provides an image of what Paul has in mind when he uses the word “lavished.” In Ephesians 1:7-8, the apostle Paul writes, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us” (NIV, italics mine). Paul is, of course, speaking of the way God has expressed his grace and offered us salvation in Christ.
If you stand at Niagara Falls, you will be overwhelmed with its beauty and power. That is Paul’s point about God’s grace, the blood of Jesus Christ, that God has lavished upon us. This is not something which God has poured out with just enough to cover our sins, this grace has been poured out in an overwhelming abundance.
This grace of God is something meant to be experienced like the beauty and power of the falls. When we grasp it, it will change the way we hear of God’s love for us, the way we see ourselves in Christ, and the way we experience this life in Christ.
This is so important to remember because when we do stumble in sin, which we all do, it is so tempting to look at ourselves in the mirror with disgust and contempt. I understand that. But that is what Satan wants us to see, to not only remind us of our failures and short-comings but also to convince us that we are an object of scorn. That is a lie! We are not an object of scorn because we are a people in whom God has redeemed us through the blood of Jesus Christ which he lavished upon us, forgiving us of our sins.
So the next time we look in the mirror, let us see the blood of Jesus Christ pouring over us with the awesome roar of a mighty water fall. For that is the richness of God’s grace expressed to us in Jesus Christ.
* This post was originally published as “God’s Grace Lavished Upon Us” in Connecting, 27 (July 25, 2012), a biweekly publication of the Columbia Church of Christ.