As I asked the question to parents, godparents and the children last weekend, its words pierced my own heart. Do I put my whole trust in Jesus’s grace and love? How much do I allow myself simply to trust? For as Rowen Williams writes in Tokens of Trust, “Christian belief is about knowing who and what to trust.”
Grace is a word we hear often but generally have different meanings for in our heads. Here is what the Episcopal catechism says: Grace is God’s favor towards us, unearned and undeserved; by grace God forgives our sins, enlightens our minds, stirs our hearts, and strengthens our wills.
Love is a word which has even more meanings for us than grace, and our catechism does not even attempt to define it, though the word appears fairly often usually in the context of how we treat one another. I would add myself that Love is the glue which holds us all together, a bond through which we give ourselves to one another. It never runs out but is renewed in the giving.
So love, grace and trust. How does today look if/when we open our hearts to put our full trust in God’s grace and love?
Rather than feeling overwhelmed by by all the difficult news we hear from around the world on pandemic, climate change, and war and …, we can instead trust the task God has given us today and who we are created to be are enough. We set aside despair and resist the flip side of completely ignoring our neighbors and creation around us.
With an open heart we can do what if given us to do through Jesus’s grace and love, and then trust God to work through us.
Perhaps today what you or I are meant to do is:
- sit with the knowledge that God makes the sun rise on both the evil and the good and sends rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous, the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45). This may not seem fair, but it is God’s grace.
- Trust in our calling and our heart’s desire. Van Gogh sold only one painting in his lifetime, but he kept on painting. We may not see clear affirmation or reward for doing what God has placed on our hearts, but we can keep doing it.
- Focus on the good that is around all of us. As Mr. Roger’s mother advised: look for the helpers.
- Gaze with kindness on all around us; be kind to all we meet today.
- Remember those who have pointed the way for us.
- Appreciate the beauty which is all around.
Today I recall my grandmother, Ruth Grimes Ewing, and her trust in Jesus’s love and grace. She was a missionary in the Garo Hills of India and in 1949 was ordained as a minister in the United Church of Christ. I have her Bible and discover as I go to mark a passage, she already did so years ago. She would be 129 years old today.
In closing I offer two blessings.
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all evermore.
And – as my Grandmother would close her letters simply with Mizpah, I offer the Mizpah benediction:
May the Lord watch between me and thee when we are absent one from another (Genesis 31:49)