Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Guest BLOG - My Lesson in Grace

I first remember experiencing grace was when I was about 12 years old. It was just after Christmas and I was the church acolyte one Sunday. Nobody had trimmed the wax on the Christmas candle in a while so I should have just blown it out at the close of service rather than trying put it out with the issued equipment. As the candle started to fall I quickly reached out and grabbed it resulting in hot wax pouring over my hand. The swear word that exited my mouth not only was loud enough for the congregation to hear, but I'm pretty sure anyone walking outside became a little more curious about the Lutheran denomination that day.

Now it was standard operating procedure that our pastor would stand facing the alter as I put out the Advent and Christmas candles behind him. After my charismatic outburst, pastor slowly glanced over his shoulder checking to see that I wasn't on fire. As I turned back toward the congregation I noticed everyone's eyes darting around the room in every direction but mine.

I then finished up my duties, exited the sanctuary, and put away my acolyte gear. It was then that the fear of the inevitable gripped me. A lecture was a given, a beating was more than possible.

As I exited the church and found my dad I braced for the worse. What I got though, wasn't what I expected. Nothing. Nobody said a word. It wasn't even joked about by anybody. It was as if it had never happened.

Our Lord and Savior is just like that, only better. His forgiveness is complete each and every time. In fact, Psalm 103:12 reminds us,"as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us." Now I'm not saying that the grace of my congregation is equal to God's everlasting grace, but the feeling and the consequence was pretty similar.

You see, even though I screwed up royally nobody held it over my head and they still let me light the candles. I'm sure with crossed fingers. In addition, I learned from my mistake. First, I kept a tight grip on my tongue; and second, I blew the candles out the next go around just to avoid a repeat performance.

In our Christian life it's humbling to recognize that we're all just a bunch of dumb sinners. But that our Lord is the Lord of second, third, and as many chances as we need. And that He will keep on forgiving and forgetting until we get it right.

I hope your first experience in grace was just as memorable.

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