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Monday, October 21, 2013

A Saving Grace

The other night I was literally the only paying person at a show.  It was a really, really good show.  The band was playing for me, the bar tend, the opening band and the sound man.  There are a number of things I could say about this, but it got me thinking about one thing- grace.

Much can be said about the difference between grace and mercy.  It's already been done though.  Suffice it to say, grace is favor given without a necessary reason. 

These guys could have played a very short set. They would have been well within their rights to do so. They didn't. I don't know if they were just practicing and hoping some more people would come up, check them out and stay, or what... In any case, they played a decent set, had some fun with it, and sounded great.  I don't know if meant anything to anyone else in the room or not, but it meant a lot to me.  

Grace arrives in unexpected ways daily for me.  Sometimes those ways are small. Sometimes they are massive.  This one was- amorphous? Hard to measure for sure. 

The crazy thing about grace is that I need it. Maybe some people don't need it. 

I don't think I have met those people though.  Since I need it, I try to extend grace to others. It's hard for me to do so.  Some people I have met aren't willing to extend grace unless someone extends it to them first.  It is a hard line approach to life, friends, and how to interact with people socially.  

It is definitely easier to act this way when I am having a difficult day.

However, when I have the time and luxury to reflect, as when I was listening to this set the other night, I realize I am constantly the recipient of grace. Ephesians 2:5 says, "You are saved by grace" (HCSB).  Most Christians know, or have at least heard, Ephesians 2:8-9, "For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— not from works, so that no one can boast." It wasn't until reading through Ephesians again this morning that I really noticed the simple phrase from verse 5.  

I think the reason most Christians focus on verses 8 and 9 is that they are trying to come to some understanding of the theological underpinnings of faith.  I think they might be overthinking it.  I do occasionally, and when I do I miss the simplicity of grace.  

I have been saved by grace and I needed it.   I am being saved by grace and I need it.  If I can't extend that grace to others in big and small ways I miss an opportunity to experience grace.  I miss out on what it means to live.  

The question becomes, "How can I extend grace today?" 

You are saved by grace. What are you going to do with it? 

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