Reflections to start the week
Monday, February 10, 2014
Where do you see it?
Last Friday, I came out of a day’s worth of meetings, got into my car and turned the key on the ignition. Lights never before seen on my dashboard flashed. I heard strange something-is-not right noises. Rapid fire mechanical diagnosis: I left the headlights on all day. The battery was dead. I envisioned a long wait and a big bill if I called road repair. Then I saw a guy unloading a van nearby and asked if he had cables. Even though he was in the middle of a delivery, he dropped what he was doing, pulled the van over, and got my car going. I offered him money. He wouldn’t take it. Grace happens.
The week before, I was giving a presentation, after which a number of folks lined up to talk about what I had talked about. As those conversations came to a close, I picked up my bag and realized my excessively heavy laptop was not in the bag. It was, in fact, missing. My life was on that thing. I freaked out. I called lost and found, and told them with certainty where I had left it. The head of facilities, a guy with lots more important things to do than look for my laptop, dropped what he was doing. He found it in a totally different place than I had told him. Grace happens.
Later this morning, I will preside at a graveside for the mother of an old friend. My friend’s mother died at age 91. In her youth, this woman had danced with the Ballet Russe. When she moved back home, she shared what she had learned with young people. She offered these lessons to children who could not afford to pay for them, venturing into parts of town that she had no business frequenting. In a time of hardened racial divide, she bridged those divisions for the sake of art, indeed, for the sake of grace in its many splendoured meanings. Grace happens.
I’m not sure that Jesus ever used the word “grace”. But he told stories of where it shows up in life, sometimes in ways that are so unusual that they seem downright irritating. A father welcomes home the errant younger son who had flushed the inheritance down the toilet. The father throws a party for the boy while the older brother looks on, steaming with resentment. Grace happens. An employer pays workers the same whether they worked 8 hours or 8 minutes. Grace happens. A detested outsider shows pity to a crime victim while the insiders, the representatives of institutional religion, perhaps the Episcopal clergy of the day walk on by. The Samaritan is from that point known to be good. Grace happens.
Our world is starved for grace. God extends it to us, and it often gets expressed in the ways we respond to each other. Think of a time, a story, an episode of grace in your life. Give thanks for that gift. Today, let grace happen. Make grace happen.
– Jay Sidebotham
|The grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all. -Titus 2:14
Grace must find expression in life. Otherwise it is not grace. -Karl Barth
May God give you grace never to sell yourself short, grace to risk something big for something good, and grace to remember that the world is too dangerous for anything but truth and too small for anything but love. -William Sloane Coffin
Rev. Jay Sidebotham
RenewalWorks is a ministry of Forward Movement.