Wednesday, March 11, 2009

GOOD CONVERSATIONS

One of life's grace-filled privileges

I've been privileged to be a part of some good conversations thus far this week. Nothing monumental, just the stuff of daily encounters, meetings, meals and visits:

In the course of a lunch with a friend I hadn't seen in a few years, I recognize his journey beyond the walls of the church is still one of grace.

In table fellowship, my frustration with one who has criticized and misunderstood me melts away.

A meeting discussion reveals a depth of need of children and families living in poverty in our community I had not before grasped.

During a walk with a friend, I recognize a depth of his commitment to his work and passion for being an instrument of grace in it.

A brief discussion with a staff member leaves me awestruck by the way God's love is making a difference in others' lives through them.

I see the joy of a new father and mother.

I read a chapter of a book in which the writer bears his soul for the sake of my growth ("being dead, still they speak").

I feel the concern of a husband for his just-diagnosed wife.

I engage in an extended Facebook back-and-forth discussion with the friend of a friend over a controversial social issue and it concludes with a respectful agreement to disagree agreeably.

I participate in a weekly roundtable conversation in the heart of the city that has been running for over eight years and recognize how much I appreciate its disparate members.

GRACE BETWEEN THE LINES. None of these conversations are related, and yet the common thread running through them all is grace. This is the "grace between the lines" that I pick up on and try to write about. Grace is not the subject; it is the emergent reality. Grace is not obvious, but it is discernable to the one who watches for it.

GRACE AWAKENING. Grace does not wait for a Sunday or only flow out of an experience of public worship or private devotion or act of service. Grace does not wait to be officially intoned. Grace is present, in between, in the very warp and woof of the fabric of life, if we are willing to tune into it. This is an awakening to grace that I am privileged from time to time to see and hear and experience. And I'm grateful for the fresh reminder that God is a work and doing all things well.

In the spirit of dialog, I welcome comments and/or questions. Click on "responses" below to post. They're moderated only to reduce incivility.

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