Brennan Manning loved to refer to the Gospel as the Ragamuffin Gospel. I always liked that. Here’s why. I didn’t come to Jesus with any piety or with the veil of religious performance. I was completely surprised when I encountered Jesus. He was totally other than my immature image of Him! And I had hit “my” bottom as a drug addicted Hippie. My home was the streets.
Jesus embraced this ragamuffin through the love and hospitality of two of his Ragamuffin Saints. Thank you Robert and Sarah; you were the first Ragamuffin Saints I met. You took me in and loved me all the way through my awakening and those tender times as a new and excited Disciple of Jesus! Because of your unconditional love, Jesus sensitized me to the realities of being drawn into Him. He threw out the welcome mat to my heart to be at home in Him. I had no theology. Not even the slightest pretense of having a clue about my life “purpose” or “worth.” I was entirely “clueless!” Maybe you can identify with my story.
I was also blessed early on to be exposed to the writing of saints like Brennan Manning. He eloquently communicated the Gospel of Grace without even a hint of religious pride. And he never wavered or compromised it. Instead; he was faithful to the message of grace through his own personal struggles, failures and shortcomings. The following quote succinctly captures the essence of Brennan’s life message! I readily identified with his story.
“Because salvation is by grace through faith, I believe that among the countless number of people standing in front of the throne and in front of the Lamb, dressed in white robes and holding palms in their hands (see Revelation 7:9), were the prostitute from the Kit-Kat Ranch in Carson City, Nevada, who tearfully told me that she could find no other employment to support her two-year-old son.
I shall see the woman who had an abortion and is haunted by guilt and remorse but did the best she could—while being faced with grueling alternatives. I will also see the businessman besieged with debt who sold his integrity in a series of desperate transactions; the insecure clergyman addicted to being liked, who never challenged his people from the pulpit and longed for unconditional love. There will also be the sexually abused teen molested by his father and now selling his body on the street, who, as he falls asleep each night after his last 'trick', whispers the name of the unknown God he learned about in Sunday school.
'But how?' we ask. Then the voice says, 'They have washed their robes and have made them white in the blood of the Lamb.'
There they are. There we are - the multitude who so wanted to be faithful, who at times got defeated, soiled by life, and bested by trials, wearing the bloodied garments of life's tribulations, but through it all clung to faith. My friends, if this is not good news to you, you have never understood the Gospel of Grace.”
Enraptured by the love of Grace, Ron Ross