Grace? She passed away thirty years ago!

Honduras Grace. She always dressed like this, no matter how hot it was.
Honduras Grace. She always dressed like this, no matter how hot it was.

For Christmas, when my family gathers for dinner, we stand in a circle to say grace. We are a mixed group of religious and non-religious: Methodist, Roman Catholic, charismatic, and whatever else we are that year, but we recite the Catholic prayer for meals each year.

Except this year we did it differently.

We said the Pledge of Allegiance like the characters in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Then, because we are a religious lot, we recited the Catholic prayer in unison. Just to make sure we didn’t offend Him overly much.

This past year I needed grace. I have been searching for God knows what as I ended one mission in Honduras, and began another, settling in Louisiana again,  but I was wondering and doubting about many things. Perhaps, Grace had died 30 years ago.

I was bored with religion, rule-setters, and long sermons on issues that I didn’t care about. I heard little about justice, compassion, or being peacemakers in the Honduran or expatriate church congregations. I stopped going to church.  In a nation such as Honduras, that led the world in homicides, I would think the Almighty might want his children to pray, if not talk, about these issues.

In the US, church didn’t seem all that good, either. There were rules, here, too. My church in the US had its code, too. We were very cool, you see.

Do not dress nicely. Never get too excited when singing about Me.  Arrive 10 minutes late. Always, always, always, get a cup of coffee or tea at the kiosk in the lobby, and sip it during the service, showing much more affection to the hot beverage than Me.  That’s cool, you know. I, YWHW, love caffeine. Not much else it seemed.

Well, thank ye the Lord, Grace actually did not pass away 30 years ago. Grace, the improbable, spontaneous, forgiving grace is seeping back into my life.

I am discovering anew that God dwells in the meeting place where my fears, insecurities, and questions are part of the dialogue. If you want to drop to your knees every time the call to worship calls and answer in mindless obedience, then go for it. If you want to count off your memorized prayers on prayer beads, that’s your choice. If you want to spin like a whirling dervish until your body and mind become one, that’s up to you.

I am just going to walk, talk and have debates with God.

And actually, I am back in the house of God, too. With Grace.

8 thoughts on “Grace? She passed away thirty years ago!

  1. Are you not familiar with the movie or the concept of grace? Grace in the movie was senile. Grace as a concept is impossible to explain. Evangelicals call it the unmerited favor of God but that seems too stuffy for the mystical and powerful idea of grace.

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      1. I cannot define grace. It’s like the Spirit, the Wind, God himself. It has to be experienced. I hope it happens to you over and over. Waves of mercy and grace.

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  2. I, too, seem to fall in and out of grace from time to time. I am clueless as to how my Mom’s faith was so unwaivering throughout her life; or it appeared to be, anyway. Nice touch on the Christmas prayer this year!!! 🙂

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    1. Mary, your comments went straight to spam! I am just getting the hang of WordPress. From no on, your comments will be published without waiting for approval of me, moderator.

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  3. Nice post. Though I am not a Christian, I think I’ve already moved from being an atheist to being agnostic to slithering toward some belief in some kind of higher power. It simultaneously thrills me and makes me nervous.

    In any case, I had a moment of grace, literally, over Christmas when my sister-in-law’s totally loving family said grace before Christmas dinner as we all held hands. It was so loving and strangely moving, and brought me to silent tears.

    Thanks for reminding me of that moment.

    Saludos,

    Kim G
    Boston, Ma

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    1. I played hooky from church this morning as it’s the first day in many, many that the sun has been shining. I have walked and then read outside in the faint January sun. Grace is indeed sneaky. Be careful. I read a quote about faith this morning that I like: (Faith) is about vulnerability not certainty. It is the outrageous hope that we would still be loved if God knew about all the ugly things we try to hide. I don’t know if the author means we are all rotten, crummy beings. I think it’s just true that faith is not just for the righteous, the good, the beautiful and the talented. It’s for us everyday, normal folks who struggle and sometimes doubt.

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