CLERGY CORNER: Springtime and God’s Grace

Posted on 30 March 2017 by LeslieM

The first day of spring arrived on Monday, March 20. Spring is a season that evokes a range of feelings in each of us. Some of these feelings involve memories of people or events that were pleasant, or not so pleasant. Then there are other feelings generated by what is happening currently in our lives — feelings of joy or feelings of sorrow. Also, spring is the beginning of a new season in our lives, a new season that will define the future course of our lives, and that future course will lead to fulfillment or disappointment. These are the range of thoughts and feelings that are inevitably swirling around our innermost beings as we enter this new season. But no matter how uncertain all this may seem to us, there is a constant that is always there to help us sort things out. That constant is our Lord.

How do we know he is there when we really need him? Of course the easy answer is faith. But to many of us, or to our brothers and sisters, faith may seem to be among the missing, when our days are darkest. That’s where our Lord’s grace comes in. His gift to us is the knowledge that he is present in our lives when nothing else seems to make sense.

I recently visited a city where I once lived. I drove on familiar streets and experienced pleasant and also not so pleasant memories. Then I turned on to a drive I had traveled a thousand times, but this time it was ablaze with color. The azaleas and camellias in the roadway median were in full bloom, and Spanish moss festooned the majestic live oak trees. At that moment, I knew our Lord had prepared that experience for me and by his grace had banished all my unpleasant memories. Our Lord’s grace is there for each of us to help us sort out what is worth keeping in our memories.

Yes, our Lord can certainly help us come to grips with things that have happened in the past, but what about things of the present? Can his grace help us deal with these? I often speak with one of the many young men who help with the grounds keeping in the community where I live. We talk of the many challenges he faces in his present life, challenges that are etched in sorrow on his face. He recently asked me to look at something he had discovered in one of our beautiful flowering bougainvillea; it was a nest which tenderly embraced several tiny baby mockingbirds! The sorrows usually etched on the young man’s face had disappeared and were replaced by an expression of sheer joy and wonder. What I witnessed was a living metaphor of our Lord’s answer to our concerns about the present time, “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”

And, finally, what about our future? Does our Lord’s grace give us any hope in this area of our lives? The Old Testament has a wonderful story that answers this question for each of us – the story of Hagar and Ishmael. When they were cast out by Abraham, and left to wander in a trackless wilderness, they saw no hope for their future. But our Lord shadowed their journey, provided them with food and water, and led them to safety. Did they know why our Lord graced their lives? Probably not; all they knew was that, in their darkest hour, the Lord reached out and wrapped his loving and compassionate arms around them. This is what our Lord and Creator does for each one of us. He has no concern for our righteousness because his righteousness is more than enough to cover any and all of our failures. All he wants from us, this spring and always, is that we come to him in faith and with the knowledge, as Saint Paul said, that “in him, we live and move and have our being.”

Rev. M. Tracy Smith, SSA, Rector is from the Saint Peter’s Anglican Church, 1416 SE 2 Terr., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. For more information, call 954-695-0336. Wednesday: Morning Prayer at 10 a.m., Thursday, Holy Communion at 6 p.m., Sunday: Holy Communion at 10 a.m.

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