Faces on Faith: Amazing GRACE
The recent events in Charleston, South Carolina, stunned the nation, and perhaps the world, when we watched in disbelief, as the families of Rev. Clementa Pinckney and the eight other African American worshippers who were slain in Mother Emanuel AME Church during a Wednesday evening Bible study, offered heart-stopping forgiveness to the young man who shot them.
And then the eulogy by President Obama, who almost became “Pastor-in-Chief” when he spontaneously broke into the song “Amazing Grace”, seemed to mesmerize not only those of us who profess to be Christians, but also hardened journalists, who admitted this was something they had never seen before, and would not soon forget.
What is it about grace that stops us in our tracks? Years ago I read Philip Yancey’s book What’s So Amazing About Grace?
As editor at large for “Christianity Today”, he explores the many meanings of “grace”.
He calls it the “last best word” because every usage retains some of the glory of the original. People say “grace” at meals; we are “grateful” for someone’s kindness; or “gratified” by good news; “gracious” in hosting friends; when pleased with a person’s service, we leave a “gratuity”. We also talk of “falling from grace”.
We may disagree with Yancey’s definition of “grace” but here it is: ” Grace means there is nothing we can do to make God love us more; and there is nothing we can do to make God love us less”.
In the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy tells us: “What we most need is the prayer of fervent desire for growth in grace, expressed in patience, meekness, love, and good deeds.” (p.4) The world witnessed grace almost beyond belief in Charleston.
How has it changed us?