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Posts Tagged ‘grace’

Abundance of Grace

 

We celebrated communion a couple Sundays back. During the Great Thanksgiving, as I lifted the bread, my daughter immediately started signing for “more” and “eat.” It was all I could do to keep from laughing! She may not have known everything that was happening in worship, but she knew Daddy had food and she wanted some!

She doesn’t know the words of institution. She can’t tell you the theological mystery of the bread and cup being the body and blood. But she knows someone who loves her is offering something worth having.

Sometimes I need reminding. God’s invitation is big enough for everyone. God’s grace is abundant for everyone. There’s more than enough for everyone.

And I don’t have to say all the right words or even know them. I don’t have to understand how everything fits together. All I have to know is that someone who loves me is offering something worth having. I can come to the table and receive.

 

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Speaking Wonder

Bishop Willimon shared this ordination sermon on his blog.  It’s an excellent read.  Seriously, go read it right now.  Then you can come back and read my thoughts.

Have you read it?  Willimon focuses on the “sent” aspect of the story, which makes perfect sense for an ordination service.  I thought I would share another insight into the story that I appreciated.

Willimon was given a message to deliver to a classmate that no one liked.  He could have delivered the straight to the point message from the principal.  But for whatever reason, he says something different.  “We’d all like Jimmy to come to school today.”  That message transforms Jimmy’s life.  This is a moment of profound wonder.

Willimon changes the narrative.  It’s not one of condemnation, but one of acceptance.  It is a profound moment of grace.  And that is what the Christian life is, at its best.  First, hearing that new message from God as one of grace, even when we expect condemnation.  Having our life transformed by the powerful message of acceptance and desire for relationship.

And then we are to share that message with the world.  To share the grace and love we have received.  To accept others where they are as God accepts them and show them new life in a community.  To flip the script on condemnation and offer something new, something better.

It’s not easy being sent into dark or dangerous places with that message of hope.  But the wonder that we can see when we arrive.  That makes it all worth it.

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Student of Life

“Never stop being a student; never stop learning.”  I’ve heard these words numerous times at graduation events.  At the time, I didn’t think much about the sentiment.  It sounded nice, if a bit cliche, and that was all.

This past week, I had the occasion to think  back on that sentiment.  I was struck by how much grace I found there.

Being a student means, among many other things, that you still have something to learn.  You don’t know everything yet or have all the skills you need.  (Of course, we never know everything, but stick with me here.)  The beautiful reality is that you are not supposed to.

You’re not supposed to know everything.  You’re not supposed to be completely ready for every possibility.  If you did or if you were, then you would no longer be a student.  That’s why you continue to study, practice, rehearse until that day when someone, maybe yourself, says you are ready.

But if we never stop being students, then that process never ends.  There’s always more to learn, more ways to grow.  That may sound daunting, like we never truly arrive.  But it is also frees us from the pressure of being the perfect expert.  We have the freedom to make mistakes, learn from them, and move on.  We can take some pressure of ourselves that everything must be perfect our first time out.  It won’t be.  And that’s just fine.

So go on, be a student of life.  Keep learning, keep growing.  Give yourself the freedom to make mistakes.  Don’t be paralyzed by the thought of failure or terrified of the consequences.  You might just surprise yourself and what becomes possible.

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