Moments of Grace Not One-Way
Rector Chris Girata's latest article in the Katy Trail Weekly
Let’s talk about grace. I don’t mean the grace that is often attributed to being charming or the grace of approval that one person might give to another. I want to talk about the grace that is given to assist us, sustain us and empower us. True grace meets us where we are, just as we are and helps us grow. Grace is a moment when we experience something divine, something unknowable and yet something very true.
Perhaps you have recently been helped by a stranger when you did not expect it. Or even better, perhaps you have been able to help someone else without any need or expectation for reciprocation. Grace is a paradox, a moment when we know something has happened that we cannot explain or when we have been blessed in a way that we did not earn.
I’ve been thinking about grace these past few weeks because I’ve joined my church this fall in looking for moments of grace in our daily lives. Although that all sounds well and good, the defining moments of grace can actually be a bit daunting. What I have decided, thanks to quite a bit of reading, is that grace can be distilled down into a simple idea: Grace is the moment when we experience the real presence of God.
Grace is definitely a gift, but grace is not a one-way experience. I believe that grace is a gift in two parts. The first part of grace has nothing to do with us. Grace is poured out on us freely by God because we are loved. Grace comes whenever it comes and cannot be forced. We cannot manufacture it, control it or contain it.
The second part of a moment of grace has everything to do with you and me. Grace is most powerful when we are ready and willing to receive it. When we open ourselves up to the world with authenticity and vulnerability, we open ourselves up to allow the power of God’s grace to enter in. The gift of that grace, the power with which true grace comes upon us, is what can transform us into the people we hope to be.
What is most beautiful about this idea is that grace is different to everyone. We are unique, with special gifts that differ from everyone else, and when we open ourselves up to the gift of grace, our uniqueness is magnified in ways that change the world around us for the good. What is most important is how we impact the world around us.
For me, grace is never an end unto itself but a means to the ultimate end: love. We are vessels living in a world that does not put love first. Yet, we yearn for the amazing truth of love. That yearning is our desire for the sacred, the mysterious and the profound, and when we experience God through grace, we receive the hint of love.
Moments of grace are really moments when heaven touches earth through each one of us. We have been given a beautiful life, filled with highs and lows, joys and heartbreaks. And yet each of us experiences the hope of grace in moments that are frustratingly fleeting, if only we can remain open to their beauty. May we each be brave enough to remain open so that each one of us can spread the love that our world needs so much.
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