Earlier this week I had one of those days when it seemed that from the moment I got out of bed I was one step behind. Ever have days like that? I felt rushed all day, and when I feel rushed I sometimes feel a wee bit cranky. Toward the end of the day I was running late for dinner and I still needed to stop by the store to pick up a prescription, one that I had meant to pick up for a number of days but just hadn’t gotten around to it. After standing in line for a while I got up to the counter and gave the cashier my name. She looked it up and got that furrowed-brow look. Not a good sign. She apologized, but said that the prescription had been returned to stock because it hadn’t been picked up for 15 days. Oh, and unfortunately now the prescription had expired and couldn’t be re-filled. Did I mention that I was already feeling a wee bit cranky?
You can tell that this story isn’t going to end well, right? And that’s what I thought, until the pharmacist, who had been standing just a few feet away, stepped over. With a smile on her face she said, “I’ll fax your doctor right now and request a new prescription. In the meantime, let me give you a three-day supply of what you need.” Within 60 seconds I was walking out the door, no longer cranky, just stunned. Stunned by the surprising gift that I had just received. It was my fault that the prescription got returned to stock. It was my fault that it didn’t get picked up in time. But that pharmacist didn’t blame me, or shame me. She gave me what I needed most – not just medication, but grace.
Grace is an unexpected, unearned gift. Grace is kindness that we don’t deserve. Grace is one of the most beautiful and meaningful gifts of life. And the God that we worship is a God of amazing, abundant, extraordinary grace. The life, death and resurrection of Jesus is the story of God’s grace for you and for me. Blow it again? God in Christ meets us with the grace of forgiveness. Faithless again? God in Christ meets us with faithfulness. Fail to love again? God meets us with endless love. That’s grace.
And one of the things that I most love about grace is that in Christ we’ve receive more than we need, so that we can give it to others. Look around and you’ll see that we continue to live in a culture that believes in “any eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”. Before long we’ll all be blind and toothless. So break the cycle. Live grace.
We shared this little video in worship this weekend. What a great picture of grace. Watch it here.
Jeff Marian is Lead Pastor at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville, MN