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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Thou hast the true and perfect gentleness;
no harshness hast thou and no bitterness.
O grant to us the grace we find in thee,
that we may dwell in perfect unity.

Our hope is in no other save in thee,
our faith is built upon thy promise free;
Lord, give us peace, and make us calm and sure,
that in thy strength we ever more endure.

Strasbourg Psalter’s “I Greet Thee, Who My Sure Redeemer Art”
from Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal

Reflection
There’s a wonderful saying that goes something like “If you want to understand the Creator, look at the creation.” Of course. When we look at God’s creation—especially these days—well, of course we can see that true and perfect gentleness, no harshness, and no bitterness.

This is true if all you look at are cat videos. (Seriously, have you seen the one where the sleeping kitten has a nightmare and the mamma cat hugs it? Adorable.)

Syria. Gaza. Ferguson. ISIS. Ukraine. People carrying guns into Target to buy cookies. People blocking buses full of refugee children and screaming “Send them back.” People on the news, saying, “You went to help people and caught a deadly disease? Stay there and take the consequences of your actions.”

If you want to understand the Creator, look at the creation . . . and think of the opposite.

No wonder we have always had trouble with the idea of grace.
We practice so little of it. We reduce things to transactions, create a world of give-and-get, separate humanity into winners and losers, and weigh each other’s worth on arbitrary scales of assumed merit. We live in an awareness of our own insecurity, and the insecure are notoriously ungenerous. No wonder people look at the world and doubt the existence of a loving God. We are really good at hiding the evidence.

We are less able to understand the Creator than a person blind from birth can understand the color blue. All we can do is hope, and have faith in the strength and grace of God, who is everything that we so constantly are not. All we can do is live as if we are secure, with generous hearts, creatures of the grace of God, giving evidence of God’s grace and love in the world.

Prayer
Dear Lord, remind us that our witness is more in what we do than in what we say. Let our actions toward each other be living evidence of your kindness, love, and grace for all. Amen.

Written by Rob Koon, Coordinator of Fine Arts


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