“I do not at all understand the mystery of grace-only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us!” Anne Lamott
Acts 17:28a – For ‘In God (him) we live and move and have our being’…
From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. – John 1:16
This year we haven’t had a lot of snow in southern New Jersey! I can hear some of you lifting up “Hallelujahs!” along with me. Last week’s snow, nearer the shore came down very gently; large fluffy flakes slowly fluttering to blanket the ground. As the snow fell, I was reading through paperwork presented by ministry candidates, some seeking to become licensed local pastors, some moving toward ordination…..all of them reflecting on Grace or as John’s Gospel lifts up “Grace upon Grace.”
Growing up in the snowbelt of central New York State, most winters we would have snow nearly every day. It would pile up, layer upon layer! Many winters, the winds traveling over the Great Lakes-Erie and Ontario would dump nearly 200 inches of snow in our area.
Until spring, the dirt and tracks of one day would be covered by fresh layer of snow, layer upon layer.
John Wesley and our stream of understanding and living out our faith as Jesus Way walkers has GRACE, layer upon layer.
We trust and know that God is always reaching out to us, surrounding us in the wonder of God created nature and each day is on the move surrounding us. This always flowing, gently raining down love of God reaching out to us, we call “prevenient Grace,” layer 1
God, as loving Creator and Great “Abba” Father, a loving heavenly parent pursues and reaches out to us to be in relationship! This may happen as a slow awakening to God’s presence and gradual unfolding of a relationship with God in Jesus Christ or it may happen in a dramatic turn-around and conversion. John Wesley was met by the God who pursued him and who he was yearning for in a Bible Study on Aldersgate Street in London, England. And he wrote that in that instant… “my heart was strangely warmed!”
Christian recording artist Lauren Daigle captures this in her song “Love Like This”** with her lyrics….
When I am the winter
You are the fire that burns
When I am a long night
You are the sunrise
When I am a desert
You are the river that turns
To find me
What have I done to deserve love like this?
She rightly captures the sense of joy and acknowledges Grace is not something earned or deserved but flows from God, freely because of who God is and not because of something we have done, or not done.
Have you ever put away your Christmas decorations and found a gift, still wrapped, tucked away behind the tree? Justifying Grace–Layer 2–is our accepting and opening the gift of a relationship with God given to us in and through Jesus Christ!
Finally, as any good and loving parent, God does not want us to stay as we are but to continue to grow, learn and develop to be all God has made us to be!
And we are given God’s presence in the form of God’s Holy Spirit, “God with us” daily so that we might continue to become more like Jesus today than we were yesterday! The mistakes and grim reality from yesterday are covered by God’s continued grace! This GRACE that flows to help us grow is Sanctifying Grace–Layer 3. How are you intentionally drawing on God’s grace daily to fill and fuel you so that you might be a blessing, even as you are blessed?
Today, STOP & PONDER! PRAY. Say Thank you and Go share Grace up Grace!
Stop and ponder who God is as creator of the universe–thousands of galaxies with trillions of stars–and God made you on purpose and for God’s purpose. God’s grace surrounds you today whether you realize it our not! Put out a bucket and gather some of that Grace today for places in your life and family that need refreshing.
Say “Hello God”; Speak to God again today, like a dear friend you call and text throughout the day. Perhaps it’s been a while. You’ve been self-occupied or “busy.” God is there–sit down, get a cup of tea and “dial in.” God’s waiting to share how excited God is and how God is missing you.
Now go share Grace. This is too good to hold to yourself or put on a shelf! Write a note, call a friend, reach out to someone in your community of faith, and relish God’s love as you soak in Grace.
Day 2 of Lent. What would it look like to keep a GRACE journal and note the ways you see God’s Love, Mercy and GRACE upon Grace flowing-signs of it always surrounding you, in deepening relationships and ways you continue to are nudged and empowered to grow in Grace.
God’s grace, like snow, makes beauty out of ugly things. I know that for a fact. I’ve seen it in my own life and I’ve seen it in the lives of countless others. Like gently falling snow God’s Grace covers all those who are open to receiving it. As it blankets us we find ourselves changed. We look different. We feel different. We are different!!!….Today I find myself very grateful for snow and for God’s amazing grace. I hope you do too. www.seeingcreation.com/tag/all-that-you-cant-leave-behind website “Reflections on God & Nature” Dr. Chuck Summers-pastor & photographer
Journeying with Jesus toward the cross in 2021