Monday, January 11, 2010
Grace Upon Grace
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”)And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. John 1:14-16
In talking with the children during yesterday's sermon, I asked them what present they received overwhelmed them. We were talking about the rare treasures that the three kings brought to the infant Jesus. Several told me about the various computer games and other electronic toys they had received. From near behind me, I heard one of the Dads in the congregation say the names of his children. Tears came to my eyes.The sweet faces of my beautiful daughters sprang immediately to mind. Somehow a little projector showed me slides of their various life stages. I asked the children if they realized what treasures they were. Did they know that they were they best gift their parents had ever received? Despite all of the frustrating moments children have with their parents and parent with their young, ever head nodded - among the children and the adults gathered. The one thing we can all agree on is the value and preciousness of our little ones, and our loved ones. Grace upon grace, gifts I didn't deserve but I thank God everyday that they are in my life. Gifts beyond measure - Mark, Emily, Ariel, Phoebe, my mother, siblings, relatives and this community that nurtures me as well. I am blessed by these gifts.
It is often easy, when faced with challenges to forget how much love God showers upon us. It is easy to think, when tragedy and illness strike that God doesn't love us or is actively "doing this" to us. It is a normal, human response and we are all human. We might even ask, "why is God doing this to me?" We ask because we are human and we do not know the mind of God. The one thing I do know is the heart and mind - the totality of God - is love. Grace upon grace is the path of God. The things that befall us in this world cannot shut out the love and light of God. The evil, hurtful things cannot consume God's love for us. Even when we feel that God is far off, when we feel lost and afraid, God, who is love, is nearby, within us, seeking love's solutions to all the broken places.
Today, I am planning on seeking God's love in my life. Noticing it, absorbing it, rejoicing in the sounds my family makes and the smiles people bring my way. For today, I want to rejoice in the love I have been given -grace upon grace -which is manifest in those around me. I pray this day you might see the grace that abounds in your presence, the realized gifts from God.