My intention for 2016 is Grace. That sounds good, right? Grace is good… yet as I’ve been thinking about it, I’m realizing what an interesting and slippery idea it is.
We may experience Grace as something that happens to us — we feel it or hear it, and “how sweet the sound.” Or we can be full of it ourselves, the embodiment of it — graceful.
Often, it seems a thing of physicality and movement, like a graceful dance. But it can also be totally intangible or still, a moment of mercy and compassion, a divine blessing.
We may speak it before a meal, giving thanks. Or speak it as a pretty name, sweet and kind of old-fashioned. Or speak it humbly as a title denoting aristocratic or religious rank.
We may use the term sarcastically: “She graced us with her presence.” Yeah, right. Or in all seriousness: “Your presence is a thing of grace.”
We may think of it as something bestowed upon us or as something that we bestow.
I notice that the common thread running through all of this is Relationship. Grace is about how we conceive of ourselves relative to someone or something else, and how we conceive of something as it relates to us. And the really interesting thing is that we’re always coming at it from both sides — both the way the world occurs to us, graceful and gracious, or not — and the way we are in it, graceful and gracious, or not.
It seems to me that our greatest experiences of Grace — when we grace to the top — happen when we recognize ourselves as both subject and object, creators and created, receptive and active, graced and graceful. When we give ourselves to the idea that Grace does happen to us, that it is indeed being bestowed upon us all the time through everything we experience. AND when we own our responsibility to be full of Grace, to embody and bestow Grace upon the world as we meet our lives.
That’s when it becomes Amazing. That’s when all these different ideas of Grace start singing the same song. And the inner and outer, living and life, we and everything else, become One.
I can’t wait to see you Saturday, January 2. Sid Fendley and I will be joined this week by the amazing Patty Stephens. And Patty will be with us the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of every month going forward! Refreshments, community, and cheer at 5:30, then service at 6:00pm, at Albuquerque Center for Spiritual Living. XOX, Rev. Andrew