“…an abundance of grace was at work among them all.” (Acts 4:33b)
Good Day Family,
An Abundance of Grace
Grace sounds good in theory. In practice, it’s hard work—both to receive it and to give it. Receiving grace acknowledges that we make mistakes, we are not perfect, and we fall short of expectations. Sometimes, external expectations assign pressures to us that we do not co-sign. On the other hand, we can be our most ardent critic. Receiving grace also invites us to do better, when there are instances when we’d rather continue along the path we’re on because it’s familiar and known, even if it’s the wrong one and it’s taking us nowhere.
Giving grace means accepting that we cannot expect perfection from anyone else. Through grace, we recognize that others deserve forgiveness and understanding even when they inconvenience us or even harm us by their actions, inactions, or words. Giving grace requires a desire to put the relationship over the circumstance or the expectations we have.
In the book of the Acts of the Apostles, there was “an abundance of grace.” Some of this might be because they were feeling their way into a new normal. No one knew how the road ahead of them would bend, twist, and turn. They were also fresh from the events of the Passion that we remembered through Holy Week. A deep rooting in the grace of Christ changes your perspective on giving and receiving the grace that flows from the same fount.
We know that as time progressed, that early church would encounter many internal challenges to that grace-filled communal life. Factions and rifts would develop. False teaching and prophets would threaten the truth of the good news. Persecution of key leaders would discourage a church still trying to get its legs.
The church today is still made up of people; therefore, we also struggle and encounter challenges unique to our time. This last year of pandemic has tested us. We’ve both risen to the occasion and floundered to be who Jesus is still calling his body to be. But, even our failing proclaims the gospel truth that grace abounds! The God who began a good work in us will carry it through until completion. The God who neither slumbers nor sleeps is alive, awake, attuned, and abiding with us. Our latter will be greater than our former…if we only receive it in whatever form that God has in store for us.
Let us stand firm in the abundance of grace as God’s gathered community. And, let our testimony be, it was God’s doing…and it is marvelous in our eyes!