“Grace is Christianity’s best gift to the world, a spiritual nova in our midst exerting a force stronger than vengeance, stronger than racism, stronger than hate. Sadly, to a world desperate for this grace the church sometimes presents one more form of ungrace.”
by Philip Yancey
What’s So Amazing About Grace?
When she first looked at me, her eyes were filled with exhaustion. There was a hint of anger; hardness born of grief and disappointment. A pretty girl, I thought, staring at me as if she was just waiting for me to say something that she could disagree with. The "tough girl" stance, clearly. I understood that posturing, that defensive technique that spoke loud and clear before she ever said a word. So when I touched her lightly on the shoulder later that day, and just whispered to her, "Good work on your test!", she seemed unprepared for words of kindness. Such a simple thing, grace, and yet incredibly powerful and profound. It changes lives!
Sadly, it is true that the Church frequently misses opportunities to be that "spiritual nova" that can exert such a powerful force in our universe - but let us not dwell on our failures at the minute. There are many, which we would all admit, but today it just seems appropriate to recall those fleeting moments of grace that we have embraced, and those that we have gifted to those around us. I am truly sorry for those times when I have allowed a potential "spiritual nova" of grace to escape into eternity without so much as a whimper. But I am also grateful for other opportunities to grasp that gift and pass it on, today or tomorrow, and every day for the rest of my life.
We have all failed; we all have stories of grief, abandonment, brokenness, and pain. I have learned from my family, my friends, my students that we can, indeed, carry on. But "carrying on" is always a much easier journey when there is someone who comes along side and brings the gift of grace. Gentle words of acceptance, a smile that acknowledges the treasure of their presence, or just a simple touch on the shoulder of one who is silently weeping . . . . . those little gestures of grace truly are more powerful than vengeance, racism, or hatred.
She told me her story eventually, and now God has blessed my life with a treasured new friend. The gift of grace changes lives - it will change yours, too, if you aren't afraid to open your heart when grace appears.
If you would like to join the other "In Other Words" participants this week, please visit Patricia at Typing One-Handed where you will find the links to the other posts, and leave your link, too, so we can come by and visit you! Have a great Tuesday! Hugs, Nina