Friday, December 4, 2015

on living grace.

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My dad loved grace.

Growing up he'd say we just need to be more graceful. He used to tell my brother and I that our mom was a glowing example of grace. He'd look at her hosting dinner groups and welcoming rowdy teens into her home and making meals to drop on porches of new parents and he'd say she was grace. She was, she is. And yet, I thought grace meant saying sorry and extending forgiveness. It did -it does-, but it means more than that.

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Yesterday we all watched as a tragic shooting took place in San Bernardino. We live not far from there, we know people who work there, we run in circles with people affected by the tragedy. And we are angry. We are angry that sin abounds, that terrible things happen, that brokenness pours out in such terrible ways.

We are watching the news with gaping mouths and sad hearts. We're wishing for answers and terrified of what they might mean. We're heavy with disgust, frustration, grief. Even our town, our small county, is no longer sage.

And in the midst of the dark, deep emotions, we seek light. 

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It was sitting on our coffee-colored couch that I remembered all the childhood days my dad spoke of grace. I watched the hourly press conferences, waited for new information, live streamed the breaking news feed and I knew this was the place for grace.

Not the forgiveness kind of grace. But the grace that acts, that lives, that wipes our wounds clean and bandages them tight. Grace that pours out steaming hot like soup, warming the coldest parts of our souls on the way down. Grace that's pursuing one another rapidly, that's responding to the emergency, that's not afraid of how this will all play out.

It's grace that establishes community in our human experience. 

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Grace for the victims. Grace for the families. Grace for the community. Grace for the first responders. Grace for the locked down neighbors. Grace for the wounds. Grace for the brave.

Grace upon grace. 

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This isn't just about San Bernardino or guns or dying. It's not just about shootings or tragedies or death. It's about each of us -in our places and with our purposes- seeking opportunities to crash a wave on the dry shores of our fellow human souls.

Because we're aching, sore, scared. Because we're broken, damaged, wishing. Because we're seeking, weary, heavy laden. Because we're hungry, shivering, lonely. We're suffering in silence and daring our community to be graceful. Yes, there's a double dog dare issued to help, to share, to drop the attitude and seize the opportunity.

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Maybe it's a plate of cookies, a text message, a bowl of warm soup, a pair of gloves and a scarf, a litany of prayers, a heartfelt email. Maybe it's less honking, more smiling, less hurry, more holding doors. Maybe it's letters to your congressman, trimming the neighbors' bushes, holding vigil with a sick child. Maybe it's long phone calls, tight squeezes, an unexpected coffee on the desk of a coworker.

Maybe it's a thousand other actions. Definitely it's a light only grace can shine through the dark. 

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