Prayer 7:13 Prayer 713
North Highland United Methodist Church
Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors

November 2016

A couple of days ago this prayer came across my email from the
Upper Room Daily Reflections:
May you experience today:
both the wideness and the wildness
of God’s grace—
in the sun and sky,
wind and water,
animal and plant,
and in the drumming
of your own heart.
Sam Hamilton-Poore, Earth Gospel
 
This is a disarming prayer, especially when it is read with a spirit or attitude of gratitude—I love the idea of God’s grace being both wide and wild. It isn’t God who placed boundaries and limits on love and grace—that’s a human invention. How unfortunate that for centuries there has been a tendency for religious organizations to be cautious with grace when God has been so free with it! Sometimes we have been downright stingy, seeming to begrudge or resent the call to share the welcome offered us with others.
 
God sent us Jesus and showed just how wild and wide this grace was. From what we read in the gospels, Jesus was pretty consistent with his desire for inclusion of those who were typically unwelcome. His heart and arms remained open in welcome, all the way to the cross. And now the church—the Body of Christ in the world— has the opportunity to experience and to share his wide and wild grace in our words, actions, and interactions in and outside the church doors. A good antidote for a tendency towards a stingy and tightfisted response in life is the apparent word of the month for November: GRATITUDE
.
Be still—are you aware of the drumming of your own heart? Know that the very rhythm of your heart is a sign of God’s wild grace. Look out the window—do you see the autumn sky and trees generously letting go of their leaves? Those pesky, blowing leaves are actually a promise and reminder that new life and new beginnings are just a season away. If we were more like trees, perhaps we could let go of the things we hold on to so tightly—even our fears and those things that make us want to pull inward, or close our selves off from. But just like we experience in this season we call autumn, letting go may eventually bring us a season of refreshing beauty and new life.
 
What if our own denomination was more like a tree in autumn and let go of fears and prejudices only to more fully experience a beautiful new season of the wide and wild grace of God? I am grateful for the leadership we have in Bishop Ough, and ask you to keep him and the 32 persons comprising the Way Forward Commission in your prayers. I also am so very grateful for this congregation and the ways you share God’s wide and wild grace in the community.
 
Peace and blessings,
 
Pastor Lou