Daily Word of Grace: April 23, 2020

Many years ago I heard a bishop from Africa preach about the difference between grace and mercy: grace is getting what you do not deserve, while mercy is not getting what you do deserve.  Grace is what God gives us every day regardless of how aware or unaware we are of it-every heartbeat, every breath, every meal, every second chance (and third and fourth and so on…)-forgiveness, hope, faith, joy, peace, and above all else, love-God’s infinite, unconditional, limitless, abounding love.  Similarly mercy is also what God gives us every day regardless of how aware or unaware we are of it-by not punishing us for every foul thought word and deed, not punishing us for the myriad selfish “devices and desires of our own hearts” (The Book of Common Prayer 41), not punishing us for the many ways we hurt others and hurt ourselves, not punishing us for our conscious and unconscious taking God for granted and presuming on God’s grace.  Jesus’ death on Good Friday and resurrection on Easter Sunday remain the definitive expressions of God giving us both grace and mercy, giving us what we do not deserve and not giving all of us what we do deserve.  All of this is encompassed and expressed in Jesus’ prayer after being nailed to the cross, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).  Even now God remains the one “who is able to make all grace abound to you” (2 Corinthians 9:8, NIV) and the God whose “mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:22-23).

Love and Prayers,