grace3Something to Ponder:

This past Sunday, I spoke about Jesus as being God’s grace made known.  Then, earlier this week, I overheard someone speak of another person as being “gracious.”  It is a noble compliment, I think, to be called “gracious.”  But grace is much more than just being nice or kind or pleasant.

The truth is, grace is an aggressive thing.  Rather than being regressive, grace is an aggressive act on our part, just as it is on God’s part toward us.  In other words, grace does not wait to be acted upon.  It is primary in that it reaches out uninvited to offer another person acceptance, approval, and love.

God’s grace, as revealed in Jesus, does not pause to ask “Is this person deserving of my favor?”  Instead, grace says, “I have already called you worthy, so that you have my affection and acceptance without condition or limit.”  God’s grace, as seen in Jesus, is aggressive.  It gives value and worth even to the one we rejects God…or rejects us.

Remember the story of the adulterous woman dragged before Jesus at the Temple?  Pure grace was at work in that encounter.  All of the woman’s accusers shouted “Guilty!  She deserves to be stoned for her sins.”  But Jesus dispersed the haters by the sheer power of grace.  And, after they all left, her head hanging in shame, this woman answers Jesus, “Lord, no one is left to condemn me.”  Grace was shown clearly when Jesus replied, “Neither do I condemn you….”  Grace gave worth to a broken life, even though she didn’t deserve it, nor did she ask for it.

Grace comes to us in the worst moments to make those moments reminders that the best is yet to come.

Ignace Jan Paderewski, the Polish composer, pianist, and Prime Minister of Poland in 1919 had a friend show daughter was to give a piano recital.  She has worked for months on her music, committing it to memory for this day.  Paderewski was glad to attend.  As the young girl made her way onto the stage, she noticed the great composer sitting in the front row.  In the shock of the moment, she forgot her music.  Not certain what to do, she continued toward the piano and sat down on the piano bench, hoping the music would return to her memory.  It did not.  Tears streaming down her face, she sat there for what seemed to her like hours.  The great Paderewski quietly rose from his seat, stepped on the stage, made his way to the young girl.  He stood behind her, and gently placed his hands on her shoulders as she cried.  He then stooped over and kissed her on the forehead.  Later than day, someone told the girl “If you had not forgotten your music, you would not have received the master’s kiss of love.”

That’s what grace does for us.  It walks uninvited into the middle of our messy lives – our faults and failures –  and gives to us the kiss of love and worth.