And all at once... " I was seized by the power of great affection." I love this quote from author Brennan Manning in his grace affirming book- The Ragamuffin Gospel. In his book he speaks of a beautiful encounter with a fellow named Elam with a developmental disability. As Brennan reached his destination of the family farm where Elam lived, something amazing happened. Spotting the visitor Elam ran up to him smothering him with hugs and kissing him smack on the lips even though they had never met.
Brennan was temporarily "stunned and terribly self-conscious." But in a split second having a change of heart he planted a big smack- a- roo on Elam's lips with gusto. At lunch Elam sat next to his new friend. Brennan says he turned around to say something and accidentally hit Elam in the ribs with his elbow.
"He didn't wince, he didn't even groan; he wept like two-year-old child. His next move undid me. Elam came over to my chair, planted himself on my lap, and kissed me even harder on the lips. Then he kissed my eyes, nose, forehead and cheeks." Brennan found himself weeping and all at once... "Seized by the power of great affection."
This joy- filled moment for Brennan is a perfect description of the grace that Jesus showers on us no matter how unloving we are, no matter how often we mess up, no matter how many times we run to him in sorrow- covered in shame.
As a fellow Ragamuffin I am humbled, awed and "Seized by the power of great affection" that each time I run into the arms of Jesus he meets me coming; throwing his arms around me, kissing me passionately on the lips offering me hope, healing and forgiveness.