Grace and peace to you, friends.
Lisa and I were invited for lunch at a friend’s house on Sunday. They attend a church where I was preaching. We hadn’t been to their home for seven years, as they had moved from Plymouth. While I have seen them off and on over that time, at meetings or in worship, we hadn’t had informal time together. It was great catching up. We had a wonderfully simple meal of soup and salad and bread. AND, German chocolate cake…from scratch! The hostess had remembered that this (along with pecan pie) is my favorite dessert. What a gift! What a gracious thing to do for a friend. She even “forced” me to take home the rest of the cake we hadn’t eaten. I was blessed.
Last night I had the privilege of joining four young adults (3 college students) for a house church meeting. It actually wasn’t in a house…it was in a classroom on campus. We shared highs and lows of the week and then prayed for each other. When we finished, I told them that I had a new high for the week…listening to them pray for one another. Heartfelt prayers of love and care and support. It was a gift, a sign of grace.
Because I was on the college campus, I missed the opportunity to attend the monthly worship gathering of Charis (which is Greek for “grace”) at Minnesota Correctional Facility-Faribault. But I knew my friends were there…both the ones who live on the outside, and the ones who live on the “inside”. They are there faithfully. The second Tuesday of the month. 50 or 60 strong, sharing stories of faith, breaking the bread of communion, being the church. I was thinking this morning how Jesus said “I was in prison and you visited me.” Those incarcerated are Jesus for us on the outside. When we go to visit, what a gift.
27 years ago today my youngest son was born. Watching the birth of my children has been one of the best gifts I have received in my life. To see them grow and participate in their lives still, is life for me.
Simple signs of grace this week. A cake, a prayer, a visit to the broken, a birth celebration.
I want to encourage you, in the busy-ness of your life today, to be on the look out for a gift…a gift of grace that will remind you of what life is all about. And if you are a person of faith, give thanks to the One who is the giver of all good gifts.
God bless you richly in these days.