What is Grace? by Lisa Hunt-Wotton
“Amazing Grace” is one of our most beloved hymns, written by the English poet and clergyman John Newton. Containing a message that forgiveness and redemption are possible regardless of sins committed and that the soul can be delivered from despair through the mercy of God, “Amazing Grace” is one of the most recognizable songs in the English-speaking world.
Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me
I once was lost but now am found was blind but now I see.
But what is Grace?
Lets take a minute to go on a journey of Grace. Look at stories of grace, touch grace, feel grace and see grace.
Grace is given and never earned. Grace absorbs this world’s hostility and doubt yet responds with patience and forgiveness.
Max De Pree the CEO of Herman Miller Inc., tells a story from his own experience that vividly demonstrates the power of a literal, physical touch of grace.
Soon after De Pree’s married daughter became pregnant, her husband moved out and abandoned her. So she was alone when the baby was born about four months prematurely. “I went to the hospital to see my new grandchild for the first time,” De Pree recalls, “and there in that incubator was a tiny little baby, about the size of my hand, with wires running from his body to a lot of monitors and machines.”
As he was watching his grandchild silently struggle for life, the senior nurse went to him and said, “Mr .De Pree, that baby’s father is not here, so from the next several months, you will have to be the baby’s surrogate father. Here’s what I want you to do. When you visit the baby, go to the incubator, put your hand through the cuffs, and stroke the child. As you touch the child with your hands, talk to the child. It’s very important that he experiences your voice and your touch together.”
Voice and touch – together.
The story of Gods grace is not only told in words. Our voice must be clear and our touch must be real. Our touch cannot tell the story, only our voice can do that.
The touch of grace makes the story of grace come alive.
Shortly after the Madrid train bombings of March 2004, Bono and French music journalist Michka Assayas had a series of conversations.
I would like you to read to you what transpired in this interview.
This is Bono’s view on Grace.
It’s a mind-blowing concept that the God who created the universe might be looking for company, a real relationship with people, but the thing that keeps me on my knees is the difference between Grace and Karma.
I really believe we’ve moved out of the realm of Karma into one of Grace…You see, at the centre of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics–in physical laws–every action is met by an equal or an opposite one.
And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that “as you reap, you will sow” stuff. Grace defies reason and logic.
Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I’ve done a lot of stupid stuff.
I’d be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge. It doesn’t excuse my mistakes, but I’m holding out for Grace. I’m holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don’t have to depend on my own religiosity.
I love the idea of the Sacrificial Lamb. I love the idea that God says: Look, you cretins, there are certain results to the way we are, to selfishness, and there’s a mortality as part of your very sinful nature, and, let’s face it, you’re not living a very good life, are you? There are consequences to actions.
If only we could be a bit more like Him, the world would be transformed. When I look at the Cross of Christ, what I see up there is all my sin and everybody else’s. So I ask myself a question a lot of people have asked: Who is this man? And was He who He said He was, or was He just a religious nut? And there it is, and that’s the question. And no one can talk you into it or out of it.
U2 wrote an amazing song on ‘Grace’ – here are some of the lyrics
What once was hurt
What once was friction What left a mark
No longer stings
Because grace makes beauty
Out of ugly things
She takes the blame She covers the shame Removes the stain
It could be her name
Everybody needs Grace, Everybody hungers for Grace.
Everybody has a story to tell. Everybody has a wound to be healed and everybody wants to believe that God is real.
Grace shakes our conventions with its insistence on getting close to people and touching them with mercy and hope.
Grace forgives the unfaithful spouse, the racist, the child abuser. It loves today’s AIDS-ridden addict as much as the tax collector of Jesus’ day.
True grace is shocking, scandalous.
Without Grace there would be no second chances.
Grace takes the blame covers the shame and removes the stain
Grace truly is still amazing.
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