Sunday, March 4, 2012

2012.03.04 Grace for "Dummies"

The first thing to say is that with grace there ARE no dummies—although I think the dummy brand is kind of a cute way to let most of us plead ignorance and still learn the basics of things we’d like to know but not be experts about, or perhaps forgot.

Because I’m a Christian priest (Episcopal) the idea of grace to me is theological, that is grace comes from Divinity aka God/Godde/Alla/Yahweh/Adonai, blah blah, yadda yadda, and etc.

Grace has a transcendent dimension but we experience it in earthly fleshly ways.

Grace has a few identifying marks.......
-it’s unconditional (you don’t ask for it, deserve it, or get to return it...
kind of like grits on your plate in the south
-it’s a surprise, unexpected, feels weird
-it offers a choice whether to receive it not knowing its worth, or turn away
-it takes time to understand
-it is usually mediated ie. comes to you through another person, your own mind,
a piece of nature, the arts, worship, music,a book, a sacrament, or, yes, your religion
-it evokes feelings of awe, wonder, and gratitude
-it lets you in on how little you know and that you are not in charge
-it’s momentary and passing
-it causes you to feel BOTH completely known and completely loved, at the
same time

This latter experience is rare in itself. Most often we think things like, “They know me but they don’t love me” or “They love me but if they only knew me they wouldn’t.”

Grace is one way Godde breaks through our compulsive ways of thinking and doing and offers new perspectives, untangles impossible knots, unsticks the stuck, or just plain delights.

Recently I felt such delightful buoying. A small curly-headed boy of about six sat at breakfast in a restaurant. He was dwarfed by about 8 adults at a long table. No one paid him much attention as he eagerly spooned his cereal and talked loudly regardless. He looked up, caught my eye, broke into a smile that could puncture the densest of cloud covers, and shouted out the good news: “We’re here with our WHOLE family.”

I grinned and gave him a thumbs up and thanked God for his little life and the grace he gave me.