Miss Sayers, Law, and Grace

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, April 14, 2017

grace and mercy crssing

Miss Sayers, Law, and Grace

Dorothy L. Sayers is one of my favorite authors—hands down. I found her mystery books when I was a teen, and saw the BBC adaptations shortly after. Marvelous characters, witty dialogue, and impeccable writing. (And, that was just her mystery novels.) However, she was much, much more than “only” a mystery writer. A medieval scholar, essayist and literary critic, she was well able to accomplish any literary task that came to hand—with brilliance. Daughter of an Anglican clergyman, she dove into the study of theology.

This excerpt comes from her theological essay called “Creed or Chaos.” Here Miss Sayers discusses societal sinfulness. She understands her own sinfulness well.

“…An intelligent understanding about sin is necessary to preserve the world from putting an unjustified confidence in the efficacy of the moral law taken by itself.” [1] Miss Sayers is quite firm: as she said, law is “always prohibitive, negative, and corrupted by the interior contradictions of man’s divided nature.” [2] She has a decided view of humanity as sinful and depraved.

Looking at myself, for instance. I also have a decided view of my depraved human nature, in my sinful self/Self. I realize that moral law AND God’s law both would condemn me to an eternity separated from God.

Yet, there is grace. Miss Sayers is equally firm about God’s grace. “The law must be rightly understood, or it is not possible to make the world understand the meaning of grace.” [3] Grace. Amazing grace. (As I also think, mercy plays a large role in this drama, too. Otherwise, there is little reason to keep on keeping on.)

Dear Lord, gracious God, what a marvelous reading for a Good Friday night. When I was already considering my sinfulness tonight, discovering Miss Sayers’s article was a gracious, helpful and loving thing. Thank You for her deep insight. Thank You for Your grace and mercy.



Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] Spiritual Classics, edited by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. (San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000), 236.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

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