We come this morning –
Like empty pitchers to a full fountain,
With no merits of our own.
O Lord – open up a window of heaven,
And lean out far over the battlements of glory,
And listen this morning. (James Weldon Johnson)
What once was hurt
What once was friction
What left a mark
No longer stings
Because Grace makes beauty
Out of ugly things (“Grace” U2, from All That You Can’t Leave Behind)
This Lent, we are exploring our faith by running through the alphabet. Today, “G” is for Grace. When you look at the word “grace,” what is the first thing that comes to mind? You might think of the prayer you say before a meal. You might think of an adjective used to describe ballerinas and figure skaters. You might think of a special gift of God that we can’t earn and that we can’t really explain.
All of these things are bound up in the word “grace.” We say dancers are graceful because they have developed the skill of beautifully keeping themselves from falling over. Each time dancers step or leap or spin, they are actively falling until their feet touch the floor again. We call these motions graceful because the dancers have cultivated the balance and coordination that keep them on their feet no matter the difficulty of the movement.
In the same way, “grace,” as a theological reality, is the thing that keeps us from falling without the prospect of being caught, the thing that gives us the opportunity to find balance in our lives. This wonderful gift from God allows us to join God’s dance, to learn God’s steps, to follow God’s music. One of the reasons we say “grace” at meals is that meals are a regularly occurring point in our day (hopefully – though for so many of God’s people this isn’t so). The regularity of the prayer of grace keeps us in tune with God’s rhythm so that we can be graceful servants of God.
Dear God, you fill the world with the rhythm of your love. Help me to find that rhythm in my heartbeat, help me be a person that exhibits the fullness of your grace. In Jesus Christ’s name I pray. Amen.
I leave this moment with you, God, taking hope in the overarching reality that you are the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.