Showing posts from January, 2020

Cosmic Grace

The hymn, Amazing Grace. It’s one we all know. Maybe even the story behind it, how John Newton, once a slave of sorts himself, later captained slave ships. How during a storm that threatened his life and all the lives on his ship, Newton saw the light of God and the darkness of his heart. Somehow that light pervaded him, an enlightening grace so amazing that it was able to save a wretch like himself. Grace changed John Newton’s life and gave us one of the greatest hymns we have, a hymn that even the enslaved would come to embrace in a profound way.  The hymn describes a grace so powerful that it liberates enslavers and the enslaved alike. The Christian hope is that through this grace all will be fully free, body, mind, and spirit. Only a grace cosmic in its scale and its reach can be so transformative. Last week, we discussed this grace and its accompanying gift of gratitude. In that sermon, I recited 2 Timothy 1:9-10. Let me read it again as I begin a follow-up discussio

The One-Word Prayer

The scene usually proceeds as follows: the family gathers around the table for a big meal , plates full, mouths watering, stomachs hungry. Before we start to eat, we wait for someone to offer a prayer. My father is always the one leading the effort to make sure this is done. “Okay, everyone,” he’ll say, “let’s say grace. Come on now, I’ll say grace and we can all eat!” The uninitiated, and there’s always one each year, an old family friend, one of the nephew’s new girlfriends, a church guest, will bow their heads first. The rest of the family will do the same for my father’s sake. With all heads bowed, my father will clear his throat and commence to saying, what? Yep, that’s right – “Grace. Okay, let’s eat!” Everyone will laugh, the initiated most loudly, having been initiated into the Erickson holiday family meal ritual. Then someone will say a more lengthy and seemingly more substantive prayer, and the meal will begin.   Yes, this is a humorous story. But it has a deeper mes