Grace has always been a difficult concept for me to understand and truly wrap my head around. Growing up, it was one of those words that was thrown around, but never really explained, like a lot of the other words Lutheran churches seem to be named after (Hope, Peace, Faith, etc.). Now that I’m older and hopefully a tad wiser, I like to think of grace as God’s love and forgiveness that we can do nothing to earn or lose.
As someone who has experienced God’s grace, in all of its visceral and inexplicable glory, trying to help others feel God’s grace becomes less of a chore and more of a calling. Although we can strive to show others God’s grace through our actions, it is impossible to ever completely live out the kind of grace that God offers us. But just because we are honest about the impossibility of this task doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to treat others with the kind of unbridled acceptance God has shown us. I think that there is something very moving about a community taking on this task which it knows to be impossible, and I truly believe LCM is one of these communities.
However, showing God’s grace is only one half of the equation. Living in a world of property taxes, offering plates, and embezzlement scandals, I have always found it incredibly difficult to accept the gracious welcome that many religious communities offer. It seems impossible to the cynic in me that someone would be so welcoming without having some ulterior motive. If you find yourself in a similar situation, I would encourage you to power through the discomfort, and know that by accepting someone’s gracious welcome, you are sometimes doing just as much for them as they are for you.
Walter Young (LCM Servant Leader)