It is amazing how understanding children are when it comes to theology and faith. Sometimes it is because their view of the world and sometimes it is out of ignorance toward the greater world. As children we can often grasp the sense of grace because our age has not yet weathered us to believe that God would want anything other than to accept and care for us.
Here a Rebbeca writes her pastor “Deer Passter, I am a good Chrischun but i can’t spel and add to good.” What an incredible faith statement. It says more than what you might think when you first read it. You may not realize in the first reading that Rebbeca is relaying a foundational assertion of our faith, that Christianity is not based upon ability. Even if we are imperfect in the eyes of the world, we can be perfect in the eyes of God.
It works like this: think back to when you were learning to read, write, add, etc. Most likely it did not come easily at first. For some it got easier, for others, they would struggle for the rest of their life, but for a child of seven, starting school, they are often defined by and define themselves by what they can and cannot do.
As adults, our issues seem to be so much more than the simple problems of our youth. We often forget how we have made it through times in the past and we will continue to make it into the future.
It is interesting when we think to specific moments of our lives. Four hours before finishing this letter I was finished with this letter. Unfortunately, my computer did not like it too much and decided I needed to write another. So, it was lost. At that moment the last thought on my mind was God or even grace that I might have the mind to write another, it was wrapped up in the utter and complete frustration of the moment. Yet, I was able to step back, take a breath and write another.
Philip Gulley and James Mulholland, both pastors, wrote in their book If Grace is True, an open discussion of how they came to the point in their ministry where they realized that Grace was neither exclusive nor temporary to this world. “God will seek, as long as necessary, until he finds us (p.185).” They also speak of Salvation as “. . . no longer the sole possession of a specific culture, religion, denomination or person. Salvation belongs to God. It is what God does in the lives of all his children.”
Sometimes we are called to participate in grace, giving room to allow it to happen realizing that it is not ours to dole out or judge, but to support and witness. It is interesting, but most people can relate to a time or experience, which lead them to understand grace.
For me, I am thankful for that grace. When I think of grace I think of the teachers that helped me when I was Rebbeca’s age and throughout my life. The people who prayed and supported me through my various journeys and those who if I had not met in my journey I would never be here. I am thankful for the grace of God that allows me, an imperfect man, to serve this fine church filled with such wonderful people. It is out of this sense of grace that I base my life in service and stewardship to God through thanksgiving and joy.
Rev. Dr. Bryan James Franzen