“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. (Matthew 5:14-15)
Grace is often a warm and happy word. A word said with a sigh of thankfulness.
As I’ve been reflecting on worship, I’ve run into a different experience of grace.
When this grace-light shines, I want to shut the door and reach for a basket. Thank you, God, but I’ll keep this to myself.
It’s the grace that God shows me in weakness, through weakness.
I admit, I’m not really a fan.
“God, couldn’t you just change that part of my personality? No need for grace. Just take out an eraser and do some editing. Here, I can show you where.”
I close in and close down around my weaknesses: my self-consciousness; my awkwardness when I don’t know what to say, or how to say it, or say the horribly wrong thing; when I let friends down; when I don’t trust God to take care of me so I try to do it on my own; when I fear failure and regret, even more than death. I’m embarrassed by it, certain others will walk away disappointed or disgusted. I find the nearest strength to cover it, thick black-out curtains or fig leaves I’ve gone seeking to earn.
But when I hide this inner-most poverty, I hide where God faithfully meets me over and over.
Even more, God’s grace touches each of us uniquely and shines in our weaknesses in a way just so, a way that could speak grace to another person.
And so I write, trusting that at least one person other than me needs to read this:
“My grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor 12:9)
It’s time to take off the basket, let the grace-light shine through it and see what God will do.
“Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
Counting gratitudes today:
371. The hard grace-light
372. Thomas Howard, Christ the Tiger.
373. Annie Dillard, A Writing Life.
374. Don Miller, Blue Like Jazz.
375. Ann Voscamp, One Thousand Gifts.
376. Phillip Yancey, What’s So Amazing About Grace?
377. The glorious musty dusty inky smell of old books, and the sweet smell of new well-published ones.
378. A prayer for forgiveness.
379. A clean kitchen
380. The smell of eggs and cinnamon toast
381. Ideas for the joy retreat
382. Ensemble singing
383. Singing “O God Beyond All Praising”
384. Playing hide and seek with Jack and Jane in the church. (And what a great place they found to hide!)