Monday, October 21, 2013

'Amazing Grace'

Grace is sometimes defined as God finding some favor with a person. But, is that the whole of grace? For me, grace is more substantive than a favoring – which can be momentary and changeable. God’s grace is an ultimate act of love. For God so loved the world that God gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever shall believe shall not die, but have the gift of eternal life. (John 3:16) This is more than finding favor. This grace is a sacrificial love that can only truly be grasped through spiritual awakening. God’s love for us is all-encompassing and enduring, whether we feel we are “in favor” or not.

The hymn "Amazing Grace" was written by the captain of a slave ship. It would be short-sighted to determine that God favored the captain over the hundreds of Africans he delivered to slavery and, perhaps, death. Yet, what God gave the captain was a testimony which beautifully conveys that God’s grace is available and offered to all. Today, this song, penned by someone who would be thought of as “unredeemable” by some, is sung by both the descendants of the author and the descendants of the Africans he transported as slaves—-with equal fervor.

As believers, we come to an understanding that we are all sinners saved through God’s grace -- the blood of Christ. “For ... grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17). To know that God willingly allowed Jesus to suffer the pains of death so that we could be saved from our own sins and become one with Him, fills one with humility, rather than a sense of self-righteousness.  

I am eternally thankful to know that I am a beneficiary of God’s great love and grace; and in knowing, I daily seek a closer relationship with God. Whether in sickness or in health, whether in times of plenty or in need, I see God’s grace in my life. No other could raise me from my bed of affliction and cause me to walk again. No other could give me a calling to fulfill for His glory. No other could fill my heart with joy. No other could wash away my sins. It is in knowing God’s love—that Christ died and rose to save me—that I can sing “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.”

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

--Pamela Perkins Carn, coordinator of the Interfaith Children's Movement and a member of Central UMC in Atlanta. North Georgia Ann Conf.

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Miss Lladale Carey
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