I've been reflecting a bit on grace lately. I don't know about you, but it's easy for me to simply hold the idea of a spiritual reality in my head as if something (like grace) was an intellectual exercise in understanding vocabulary. It's not as easy to live into the experience of that spiritual reality.
I preached on Galatians 1:3-5 last Sunday at Evergreen. We are currently working our way through Galatians and part of James as we move into the fall season and our annual stewardship campaign. We are asking, “What is the Gospel?” and as an extension of that, “What is the purpose of the Church?”
Paul’s greeting in Galatians incorporates two words that deserve to be unpacked in that context: grace and peace. One of the commentators I read links the word grace to the word “
” from the Old Testament.
is that word with no easy equivalent. It’s used to describe the essence of God as He enters into his covenant with Israel. His unbreakable and unique promise to be faithful is saturated with mercy, lovingkindness, and grace. It’s the kind of grace that’s transformational as you experience it.
It doesn’t work to impose a morality on someone from the outside-in. A person can’t even change themselves that way. Transformation comes from the inside-out, and I believe it starts with a healing experience of grace.
I hope to experience more of that as I grow in my relationship with God, and I’m guessing others do too. As we grow together, may we find ways to live into God’s saving grace.
Rev. Jenni Bales
Director of Communications
Presbytery of San Jose