Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish!
Ephesians 2:8 (The Message)
I am eternally grateful for God’s gift of grace, today and every day. So I will pause and reflect on my thirteenth day of ‘Thirty Days of Thankfulness‘ upon faith and grace.
As I imparted a week ago in my post on John and Charles Wesley, I am a Methodist, born baptized and raised one. Yet until I studied to be a local Lay Speaker for my local church that I fully understood what it meant to be a Methodist and showed me the path of discipleship.
Grace can be defined as the love and mercy given to us by God because God wants us to have it, not because of anything we have done to earn it.
Our Wesleyan Theological Heritage, UMC.org
Grace centers nearly all Christian sects and denominations. To me, it boils down to love and compassion. Keep it simple, please. Less chance for me to mess up.
But Wesley, ever the scholar, took it one or two steps farther, defining grace in triplicate:
- Previent Grace: God’s active presence in our lives; a gift always available, but that can be refused.
- Justifying Grace: Reconciliation, pardon and restoration through the death of Jesus Christ.
- Sanctifying Grace: The ongoing experience of God’s gracious presence transforming us into whom God intends us to be; we grow and mature in our ability to live as Jesus lived.
Excerpts from Our Wesleyan Theological Heritage via UMC.org
The journey, not the destination, and Wesley provided the map, charting a course that even I can follow, called the Means of Grace. He broke his method down into two broad categories: Works of Piety and Works of Mercy. The former flows naturally out of my upbringing, Sunday school classes and worship service attendance. The personal practices of prayer, Bible study, healthy living and fasting together with the communal ones of Holy Communion, Baptism and participation in the Christian community, flow and grow naturally with regular usage. The latter stresses the outpouring of service to the sick, the poor, the imprisoned and seeking justice for the oppressed.
Yes, there was and is a method to Wesley’s ‘madness’ or rather his enthusiasm to follow God’s will and His vision for all of us, as His disciples, to bring His kingdom of mercy, peace and love to fruition here on Earth.
My least favorite forecast includes ‘wintry mix’ concatenated with ‘winter storm warning’ culminating in excruciating commute times. My vanpool dodged that bullet (barely) on the return trip home last night, for which I am very grateful. It allowed me to watch and listen to my daughter’s first concert of the year, as a member of the Chamber Choir at the UNT College of Music. While she is also a member of the Collegium Singers, she enjoys the challenge of increasing her repertoire in those two choirs and in her vocal performance studies individually as well. Musicology is her primary focus as an undergraduate for the next year or so. Living eight or ten hours north (by automobile) from her concerts would be torture if it weren’t for the appeasement offered by the College’s live streaming of most of the concerts.
Even though the concert only lasted thirty minutes, Terry and I enjoyed hearing Rachelle’s voice across the aether of cyberspace.
Immediately prior to the concert, while I shook off the last dregs of the work day, Terry tried a new recipe for stuffed tomatoes, which we barely got in the oven before the singing started. Twenty minutes later we sampled his latest savory culinary comeuppance. Delicious!
We opened the front door to near white out conditions. We couldn’t see across our court to the houses on the opposite side. Thick snow blanketed the steps and driveway, even though just ninety minutes prior there had been less than a half inch of icy, slushy, sleety mess. We promptly closed the door and return to our regularly scheduled DVR programming.
Due to some systems maintenance performed overnight, I overslept by thirty minutes, awaking at 5:30 a.m. Barely stopping to slap on some socks, I jammed on my boots, grabbed my coat and gloves and opened the garage door to an even thicker blanket of snow. And while it looked fluffy and airy, it proved to be heavy and wet. I began to doubt my ability to shovel just half the driveway to the street in the thirty minutes before I needed to dress for work. My white knight came to my rescue and helped vanquish the snow dragon. He even volunteered to do the steps while I finished my morning ablutions.
Terry drove me the two miles north to the Hallmark plant in Leavenworth so I could catch my ride to work. As we were passing by the IHOP in Lansing, I commented that we should have had breakfast when I was awake between two and four o’clock earlier this morning. Being such a considerate husband, he drove in a circle around the van chanting ‘na na’ at me because he planned to stop at said restaurant for breakfast on the return trip home. True to his taunting, we saw him parked front and center at the IHOP as we headed south on K-7/US-73 (aka as Main Street in Lansing).
Our commute to Kansas City’s Midtown and Plaza regions remained uneventful, if a bit slow. We observed several cars languishing in the medians and ditches, but we deigned to join them. And for once, I made it to work when some of my team members decided to turn around a go home due to the icy road conditions in their part of the metro area.
Finally, and in closing, in perusing the blogs I follow as part of my morning tea sipping ritual, Modesitt posted a rebuttal to his previous blog (from earlier this week). The earlier post, entitled ‘The Problem of Truth/Proof” generated several comments (a couple of which were mine), which then spurred Mr. Modesitt’s posting this morning, entitled “True” Knowledge is Not an Enemy of Faith. I will monitor this blog throughout the day to follow the next wave of comments, but will probably refrain from commenting myself.
May you all have a restful and peaceful weekend!