The definition of Grace, or one of the definitions of Grace is “Love and favor freely given by God.” What an amazing and beautiful concept. Yet how often are we consciously aware of that love and favor in our daily lives. If you are anything like me, the tediousness of life, the general rat race and business of life often clouds your ability to realize and revel in the love and favor that God gifts to us every day. I know I get tired, irritable, snarky, and less than loving when things are coming at me too fast, I’m asked to and expected to go in several different directions at the same time, and/or things just don’t go my way. But simply put, that’s life!

So HOW do we live in and become aware of the Grace that is ours every day? The Grace that God so freely gives us? How do we realize we live in the company of Grace – God’s Grace and the Grace of others? I think, my friends, that it demands attention, intention and discipline. And interestingly enough, that attention, intention, and discipline are most often found through silence, rest, meditation, spiritual practices and disciplines that allow us to tap into something bigger than ourselves and to set aside our egos to become aware of God’s presence. “Be still and know that I am God” could be interpreted, ”Be still and know MY GRACE.”

I know this past year has been a struggle, a challenge. Some of us didn’t take vacation, some of us worked so many extra hours that we lost count. My word of Grace to you today is that it is time to set all of that aside for some time of rest. It is time to intentionally take sabbath every day, every week, every month and every year. Set aside time for rest, renewal and re-creation…Jesus did it!!! You can too! Nowhere in the Bible does it ask us faithful folk to overwork ourselves, nor does it ask us to take on the responsibilities of the world, of others, to keep things going without the help of the larger community, etc. JESUS is the ONLY one who could handle taking on the Sins of the world, that is not our job. Nor is it our sole responsibility to have all the answers, make all the decisions, and control everything around us. When we do this, we take away our ability to realize God’s gift of Grace, to realize God’s gift of teamwork and community, to realize we are an important PART of the whole story that God is writing.

Please, my friends, take time this summer to rest, relax, be renewed, and re-create a reality aligned with God’s will for Grace-filled living, God’s will to realize and joyfully live in the love and favor that God is freely giving us every moment of every day.