What is grace? I know until you ask me; when you ask me, I do not know. Saint Augustine
This month we consider grace, what it means to be a people of grace. It is not a phrase we usually use to describe ourselves. Grace can be a tricky word for Unitarian Universalists, as it is a concept deeply rooted in Christian theology.
In my time at Waterloo Lutheran Seminary there were many thoughtful conversations about the idea of grace, as Lutheran doctrine argues that people are saved by God alone, not through personal action. For my Lutheran colleagues, being “saved by grace not works” was a beautiful, expansive, and welcoming sense of God. It felt similar to our traditional Universalist theology of a God so loving he saves everyone. Indeed, most of the Lutherans were also believers in universal salvation. A gracious God is a loving God.
I have a hard time explaining the term grace. Like St. Augustine, I have a sense of what grace is but don’t have the language to describe it. For me, grace doesn’t come from God, but is part of the beauty of life on earth. At times it feels like an unexpected gift of joy, a moment of wonder when you feel in alignment with all that surrounds you, it all just feels right and you feel right as well. Graceful. How marvelous to be a small part of this great big planet! At other times grace feels like the opening of a door you didn’t know was there – those times when things are bad and about to get worse – but someone speaks a kind word instead of a cruel one, or offers forgiveness before we are able to forgive ourselves. Gracious. Grace is about unexpected, unlooked for, even undeserved gifts.
If you are moved by anything you read on this site, please leave a comment or share the page with your friends. Post it to twitter or facebook! You never know who might need to hear about the theme.
This month Michael Franti “prays for grace.”