What are the grace-filled moments of your life?
Maybe it’s that regular walk in the woods. You’ve done it countless times, but this time, the early spring snowfall carpeting the floor is pierced by bluebells bringing the promise of a summer to come.
Or maybe it’s the winter fire and the good book. And the moment when, without raising your eyes from the page, your hand falls to the side of the chair. The flat of your palm comes to rest on the familiar mass of your dog’s head, waiting devotedly but sleepily by your side. And you smile and continue reading.
Or maybe the slow motion moment when the ball leaves the foot of your star striker and arrows directly and forcefully into the net, dragging a primal roar of joy from your throat and those of your assembled friends,.
What are the grace-filled moments of your life? [PAUSE]
Where do they come from, these moments? These unexpected marvels that you’ve done nothing to earn.
I like to think of them as echoes of grace. Resonances of that one cosmic moment when grace in all its clarity found expression in a person. Leaving heaven to come to a world which couldn’t find space for him. Yet still coming and living among us full of grace, and telling us stories so that we could understand.
Of the workers who turn up at the last hour yet receive a full day’s day, because of the generosity of the boss. Or the profligate son who squandered his family wealth yet found a welcome home into the arms of his waiting father. Or the angry, embittered older boy who though he was in the home, never felt at home, with the father who frequently embarrassed him with his big-heartedness.
And now we know. That grace is a cross. Grace is an empty tomb with a stone rolled entrance. Grace is the gift of power and presence. Grace is the company of fellow pilgrims on the way.
We can theologise about grace. We can forensically examine its bones. We can argue and debate and parse it but by doing so we only serve to empty it of its joy, its power and its wonder.
Grace is a moment. Grace is an encounter. But most of all, grace is a person. We meet grace when we meet Jesus, sometimes in the pages of a book, or sometimes in the words of a sermon but more often in the ordinary and everyday, if we have eyes to see.
a reflection on Grace, written to open our church service on 18 April 2010