Wednesday, November 7, 2012

2012.11.07 Grace Works

Grace doesn’t always just happen; grace works.

I am happy about the election results—not just that our President and others I voted for won, but because there seems to me to be something much greater and deeper going on.

Our nation split and partisans fought with vicious vigor—and now, thanks to gracious “winners and losers” there appears to be willingness to let go and collaborate, to take a Godde’s eye view. Not to eliminate debate and conflict but to know that there is something more precious at stake than individual concerns: the good of the whole.  

Most people think of grace as an amazing and surprising phenomenon—like out of nowhere. And it can be like that.

But there’s another way in which grace operates and that is deep within a system, like deep tissue massage over time.  This kind of grace pulls for the goal of unity without uniformity, and more acceptance of self AND other.  It’s relational grace.

Grace has a history in America.  It has been embodied in many leaders and followers carried forward by the risky work of reconciliation and compromise. It has always headed in the direction of e pluribus unum and it has always meant enormous transformative, emancipatory change.   

Over all my years I’ve prayed for this kind of unitive healing in our family, blended and in-lawed and multiplying.  Sometimes I tried to make it happen and sometimes I impeded it by my own selfish choices.  Now I see it happening. I thank God AND every single member of this beloved community.  (Maybe my children would say it’s Mom being idealistic again.)  Perhaps it is—still..........

It's a blessed jubilant triumphant time for many—and a vulnerable time, a time to stay alert.  Our Episcopal prayer book has a petition in one of the Compline (night) prayers: "shield the joyous." 

Grace is a religious word. All religions have this theological idea. Grace is at work in religions—ironically, tougher to massage.  

In the words of theologian and scientist Teilhard de Chardin, this grace is “the long slow work of God.”  It calls for patience, honest effort, trust in God, self and neighbor, and  ”accepting the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete.”