Experiencing the Grace of God
“He [God] destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and insight he has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.” (Ephesians 1:5-10)
The beginning of the letter to the Ephesians gushes with grace - God’s grace poured out for the benefit of humanity, as we are “destined for adoption as God’s children.” Paul writes of the “glorious grace that he [God] freely bestowed on us in the Beloved”, speaks of redemption and forgiveness “according to the riches of his grace lavished upon us”, and God revealing the mystery of his will - “according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ... to gather up all things in him....”
Glorious grace... the riches of grace... lavished upon us... according to his good pleasure.
This is not a wrathful God. This is a loving, generous, lavish, God who thoroughly enjoys blessing all of creation!
Grace is hard to define. It has to do with blessings that are unearned and even undeserved. It has something to do with being overwhelmed and healed by love. For me, I know it when I feel it; I know when God has lavished grace upon me or upon us.
Today is the 10th anniversary of Julia’s successful colon cancer surgery. Her healing is grace. The past 10 years together and the 31+ years that I have known Julia has been glorious grace.
I baptized two siblings this past Sunday - Charlotte (age 6) and Julio (age 4). They both laughed while they were being baptized. That was grace. Every infant, child, teen, and adult I have been privileged to baptized into Christ - that has all been grace.
We said goodbye to a long-time member of St. Ambrose last Sunday. Holly has lived all of her life in Boulder and spent 28 years of her life being formed, serving, singing, and being transformed in the St. A community. She recently moved with her husband to another part of Colorado. As most of the church came up to lay hands on her as we prayed for the next part of her journey, I felt the grace of God among us.
The birds nesting underneath the deck, just outside of our basement door, singing beautifully each morning and evening - that is grace.
The music I get to hear and participate in each Sunday, led by faithful, dedicated volunteers - that is grace.
The views I see as I walk, hike, drive around Colorado, or even as I sit in my living room - wow! - that is grace.
Friends who generously help me stay healthy, listen attentively when I preach, offer insights on Bible passages that we read together, love our children lavishly as they serve as godparents, give of their time and talents as they help me plan this crazy walk across the country - grace, grace, and more grace.
God giving me the dream of the walk in the first place - grace!
All the teachers, mentors, counselors, and coaches I have had over the years - grace.
My parents taking us hiking and camping, and also passing on their values, and taking us to church every Sunday - more grace.
Most of all - God claiming us as beloved daughters and sons, and coming in the flesh to show us how to live, how to love, and how to know joy - amazing grace!
Grace - I know it when I feel it!
What is your experience of God’s lavish, glorious grace?