God’s Grace. What is it exactly? Rarely, I think, does God act in big booming actions or performances of grace in our lives or in our world, and yet, as I think about it…God’s gift of God’s son Jesus, crucified and risen for the world was a pretty darn BIG act of grace! Then there’s the flood and Noah’s Ark (I know there’s controversy about its actuality), but ya gotta admit, those big amazing rainbows speak volumes of God’s grace, peace, mercy, and promise when they loom over the earth or even when you can barely see them next to the sun. There’s such deep beauty there and a reminder that there’s something so much bigger than ourselves at work…and yes, I know there are scientific reasons for rainbows.
From Moses and the exodus to Peter, Paul, Mary(s) and the spread of the Jesus Movement through 12, 70 and more followers, God has worked in some big ways (John 3:16)and million super small ways to bring love, healing, forgiveness, reconciliation, and wholeness to this world that is loved so very, very much (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17). And of course, God continues God’s work of grace in and through us today; it sweeps through and it seeps through our life stories, so much so the Martin Luther says he’d *“risk death a thousand times trusting in it.” So here it is…
God’s Grace: in the midst of a fight, sitting at a stop light and the person behind you is honking the horn, in a long grocery line and you’re in a hurry, in childhood memories and as you are making new memories with your family and grandchildren, hiking a mountain or along a beach, walking through downtown or along a country road, listening to rock and roll, zydeco, pop or big band music, when you are hungry or when you have eaten a satisfying meal, when you are serving or when you are being served, as you are falling asleep or wrestling in the middle of the night with a major problem that is rolling around in your head.
God’s Grace is there, sometime realized and sometimes not. It can be that still- small-voice that says to you this fight is not worth the hurt it is causing either of us; it is the patience and prayer that comes over you in times of frustration and fretting; it is in the beauty of the earth, this glorious creation that cycles in heat and cold, rain and drought, light and dark, fire and new birth; it is the urge to get active and be healthy and the times of rest and renewal that are a must for us on this side of heaven; it is in the pain of child birth and the overwhelming love at first sight; it is in the unexpected note from a friend, a friend request on social media, or realizing someone has unfriended you; it is the kind heart, the wise physician, the caring nurse and family member or friend who see us through illness and recovery or holds our hand at the very end of life.
Grace is that thing that sees us through the situations of life and that allows us to know peace, love and mercy even through the hardest experiences. If we but take the time to look, remember, glance or stare at the experiences of life, we will see, without a doubt, God’s presence and God’s grace in the very places we most needed and currently need to realize that God is real. For me? It was Sally Smith, the mother of my very best friend and our neighbor, who when I was 9 years old, sat holding my hand not saying a word while I cried and cried at the funeral home when my sister was tragically and accidently killed. Just her presence alone transmitted the love of God into that moment. I didn’t fully realize it then, but I sure do now. And today? It is watching my 3 children fight and yell about stupid stuff and then hug (or punch) in forgiveness, stumble out the words “I’m sorry,” and flippantly go on inviting each other into their lives in meaningful ways. Life is amazing and God’s Grace throughout is amazing as well.
May you find it, see it, and feel it between the lines of life and live this day and EVERY day in the company of Grace…
What are YOUR moments of realized Grace? Or those moments that you would like to be able to find Grace but are having a hard time? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
*For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16, NRSV
*Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and through grace gave us eternal comfort and good hope, comfort your hearts and strengthen them in every good work and word. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, NRSV
*Faith is a living, bold trust in God’s grace, so certain of God’s favor that it would risk death a thousand times trusting in it. (“An Introduction to St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans,” Luther’s German Bible of 1522 by Martin Luther)