Originally published in December 2018.
You have heard the expression, “There, but for the grace of God…”
As a boy, I often wondered about that expression because it seemed to paint God as having preferences. Does that mean that God didn’t like me because I was legally discriminated against? Does that mean God prefers people with a lighter shade of color? Does that mean God is white?
For a young mind, these ponderous questions brought with it an anxiety and a search for reassurance. That’s when I began to feel this thing called grace.
Grace is not about preference.
Grace is the assurance God loves you, no matter what others think about you.
If you are of a mind to consider the length one must go to step outside the boundaries of God’s love, then think about the cosmos. Where are the ends of the cosmos? Just as there is no end to the cosmos, God’s love is limitless.
When you wrap yourself around that fact, those are God’s arms holding you. Do you remember the 1976 play, Your Arms are too Short to Box with God? That’s the feeling I’m talking about.
I don’t know about you, but I feel great about this undeserved love. It gives me the stamina to keep on down this road towards justice. It gives me room to forgive and help a reformed fellow sojourner as we both walk this road. I am less judgmental because God’s grace is free of judgment.
As we enter this month of January, where we will hear thoughtful comments about grace from the pulpit and in our humanist hour, I am reminded of Rev. Dr. A. Powell Davies in his message, Christmas Always Begins at Midnight. Towards the end of his sermon, he remarks:
“Yes, in the darkest hour, the brightest hope; and at midnight, the sound of caroling! It is because in the goodness of God, we have this at our best that we shall never be altogether overtaken by what we are at our worst.”
In the goodness of God! The goodness of God is grace.
The goodness of God reminds us that the brightest hope chases away the darkest hour. The goodness of God says to hold on and do not allow the dark to penetrate your soul. Know that darkness is part of life. No doubt, the shadows conceal what is forlorn and forgotten. But the shadows also hide the frightening past of trauma. The goodness of God sheds light and that light reduces the fear of memory.
During this start to our new year, I urge you to embrace this goodness. No matter what has happened to you, you are so loved. Allow that love to blossom in the sunshine of God’s grace.
Join us at All Souls on every Sunday in January to explore the theme of GRACE.
We’d love to have you with us in-person or online, together in community and covenant. Learn more about our services or register to attend at allsoulschurch.org/worship-services.
Rev. Gerald Davis serves as the minister of Church of the Restoration Unitarian Universalist and as an Affiliate Minister at All Souls Unitarian Church, both in Tulsa,Oklahoma. Every second Sunday, you can join Rev. Davis at 1:30 p.m. for All Souls Reads. Rev. Davis leads the discussion about literature that explores the human condition when overcoming oppressive circumstances. January’s selection is The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America by Khalil Gibran Muhammad. Read more on the topics of love and justice from Rev. Davis on beyondbelief.online.
Cover Photo: Photo by Olga DeLawrence on Unsplash, edited.