Sunday, May 13, 2012

THE MEANING OF GRACE

Today is Mother's Day in the United States. We said good-bye to my mom about ten years ago. Somehow, I managed to read the following words at her funeral.
After ten years, I still miss you mom.

GRACE
Back in the Old Testament times, parents would often give their children names that fit their character.  I was never sure how they were able to do this, nor am I sure how George and Lillian Blomberg came to name my mom “Grace.”   But never was there a person who so fit the character of her name.
Words and language have a greater purpose than we often give them.  Words are meant to express more than simply a set of facts that are to be understood correctly.  We must go beyond mere and meager communication to know the person who is speaking.  When we know the words and language of the One who has spoken in the Bible, we are progressing from the cold, hard facts of the Old Testament Law, to knowing Jesus Christ Himself, who is God’s fullest expression of His Word.
So it is with the word Grace.  If we can, for a moment, put aside any strictly theological definitions of the word, we will know my mom better.  Grace does not mean that one ignores what is bad, but it is instead making a conscious choice to act with favor toward someone, despite what they may deserve.  Grace is knowing that the good that exists so outweighs the bad, that in the end, it is the good that will prevail.  Understanding these things, we can begin living by grace. By living in grace, we can also know my mom.

Grace is kissing the cheek of a grandchild for some stemless flowers that he has just picked from her best planter on the porch to give to his gramma.

Grace is enjoying the way the sun shines through the window and not commenting on how the sun shows how dirty the window glass is.

Grace is standing in the barn door during chore time and singing to the morning; not allowing oneself to be brought low by the drudgery of milking cows.

Grace is genuinely enjoying unexpected company, even when the pain in your knees begins to become unbearable.

Grace is being very hesitant to believe something bad about someone, but very quick to believe something good.

Grace is reminding someone of how, in the end, all things will be made right by God.

Grace is reciting lines of poems learned long ago, just for the joy of hearing the words.

Grace is facing a busy day, but taking time to enjoy listening to the birds singing in the morning.

Grace is encouraging you to “look-up my cousin’s family,” when you pass through their town; even though you have never met them and think you have no time.  (“You might make a new friend”)

Grace is writing a letter to someone that you think might be missing his home.

Grace is wearing old farm clothes that smell of cow barn, when your natural beauty deserves the finest clothing and richest perfume.

Grace is taking more pleasure in the achievements of others than in your own.

Grace is reminding someone to think in terms of what will seem important about today, 80 years from now.

Grace is knowing that there is good to be found in every situation.

Grace is singing and singing ... and singing.

Grace is having that quality which makes others always feel better about a difficult situation after they have had a cup of coffee and visited with you.

Grace is appreciating so much the smallest thing that another may do for you.

Grace is knowing that to give grace to others, you must also know how to receive it.

Grace is also knowing that the originator of all good things is God.

Grace – despite wanting to hold on to someone you love so much – is letting that person go into the care and the love of Jesus.

We can let you go, mom.  From you we have learned grace.

All who knew my mom have touched the grace of God, because she knew how to live within His grace.  It was with purpose that the Apostle Paul wrote to the churches, “Grace and Peace to you.”  The two go together.  Where there is grace, there is peace.  When we learn to live by the grace of God, we will also know peace.

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