Sunday, June 19, 2016

2016.06.09 Grace Is A Verb

Many alphabets of grace have been created. That’s because grace is both a divine mystery and something everyone experiences, sometimes daily. Usually grace is used as a noun, but it can be a verb, as in “The Queen graced us with her presence.” Or the Pope, or Jesus, or the President, or the one you’d always dreamed would fall head over heels in love with you. 

In seminary my favorite New Testament professor defined grace in an experiential way. I’ve never forgotten his definition and hold it true today. Grace is the experience of being known and loved— at the same time. That sounds passive, and it is because this kind of grace is a gift. When you feel known, through and through to your core—AND AT THE SAME TIME— loved, through and through to the core, you explode. No longer can you say, “They know me but they don’t like me.” Or, “They love me all right, but if they really knew me, they wouldn’t.”  You see what I mean. Grace is a package, and it is divine when it happens to you. Only the verb form can express this explosion of truth in your soul. Like this:

Here is my alphabet:

A  aerate
B   burst
C   clap
D   drop-kick, delve, dazzle
E   eulogize, effervesce
F   fly
G   God/Godde
H   hallow
I    irrigate
J   jolt
K  know
L   lift, love
M  mourn, marry
N   notarize
O   own
P   potentiate
Q   query
R   reconstitute
S   sanitize
T   thank
U   undergird
V   vivify
W   wonder
X   xylophonize
Y   Yes!
Z   zest

My father when he was alive gave me grace when he completely knew and loved me at once, which wasn’t consistent, by the way, but when he did I glowed through and through. Like the time I, hesitantly, told him I wanted to be a priest and launched into a messy and awkward explanation. I didn’t think he would disapprove; I just thought he might think it silly and laugh. Instead, he said, “I understand, Lynda.” (He called me by my full name when he got seriously angry—or graced me with his full presence. )

Here’s Dad the day he married Mom 82 years ago June. Handsome dude! I got his nose and his hair.