“Grace Upon Grace”
I often wonder why we are so hard on each other—there is so much in our world to cause all of us anxiety and fear. It seems now is the time for us to search for ways to connect, create community, and offer grace rather than being critical and holding each to standards which are impossible to achieve.
My mother-in-law died a number of years ago. When she died some of the things that had seemed so important during the years Terry and I have been married no longer mattered at all. Many times during those years I wanted her to be something she wasn’t or someone she couldn’t be, rather than just accepting her for who she was. There were many wonderful things about her and I did see those, but more often than not I would ask the questions: Why couldn’t she be more affectionate, why couldn’t she just say what she was thinking, why couldn’t she be more giving? The list could go on and on. When she died those questions suddenly seemed insignificant, my questions became—why didn’t I tell her I loved her more, why didn’t I hug her every chance I got, why didn’t I overlook her shortcomings—my own shortcomings suddenly loomed large in front of me.
These words from First Corinthians 13 took on a new meaning for me— “. . .we see through a glass darkly, . . .” I didn’t see clearly until she died, but then through the eyes of love I could see and understand what mattered. She had a hard life-her father was an alcoholic and her mother,
for the love of her two daughters divorced him and raised them by herself. Being a young person during the depression wasn’t easy and the list could go on and on. She had done the best she could with what she had—she raised two wonderful children.
When Terry was beginning high school his mother began working outside their home, he wasn’t sure why. It was because of her dream that her children go to college and she was working to make it happen. When Terry’s dad died she had never written a check—she was a product of her generation. Terry’s sister took her to the bank to show her what to do and she had never been in a bank before—she stood in the lobby and cried. But she had that pioneer spirit, tightened her belt and doing what needed to be done and she did it well until she died. She turned out to be an excellent money manager. Every church needs a host of Marie Swifts—she didn’t like the spotlight but she worked behind the scenes making sure people felt cared for, encouraging the youth, and faithfully giving of her resources. When she was in her eighties she went to visit the “old people” as she said, taking them tapes of the sermons and reminding them they were missed.
I wish I had been able to “see clearly” before she died. If only I could have learned this lesson then, but I pray that I will not forget it. If I can remember and let it inform my life I might be able to love more freely and forgive more readily. If I am willing the “Spirit” will help me offer more grace and less condemnation.
It is a gift we can give to each other-----!
See you Sunday!
On Easter Sunday we led a worship service at a Residential Re-Entry Center staffed by Volunteers of America. Prisoners who have good behavior may be sent there to finish out their sentences. To qualify they must get a job and live in the center. The director talked with us about coming regularly and we have offered to come lead a service once a month at 9:00 am on Sunday mornings. Any Bread member who wants to participate must go through the VOA volunteer process. Please let Jorene or Charlie know if you want to participate in this ministry.
Hot Dog Picnic
On June 11 immediately following worship we will gather in the Fairmount Park near Arts 5th Avenue for a picnic. We will invite our neighbors to join us. It will be an opportunity for us to make new friends. We will have supplies available so we can make more of our car bags to give to our friends who need food and we will invite our neighbors to make some bags for their cars, as well.
Invite a friend and join us!