Feb 17, 2014

Posted by in Uncategorized | 0 Comments

MEDITATION: Opportunities of grace

MEDITATION: Opportunities of grace

To him all the prophets bear witness that every one who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name (Acts 10:43)

When the main speaker at a conference on hope at the beginning of his talk asked the participants to indicate as believers those things which create hope in their lives, there were different answers.

Most of the answers centred around their experience of what they called: God’s grace and faithful love. One person expressed it as follows: “What gives me hope is the firm knowledge and trust that God knows me and that God will never forsake or leave me, no matter who I am or where I journey today.”

Another very significant answer went like this: “I have hope because I have discovered that I am repeatedly offered new opportunities of mercy and grace, so that I may start on a clean sheet every day.

Repeated opportunities of mercy and grace! By expressing his source of hope in this way, this person touched on one of the most important messages of the Bible. That there is always mercy and forgiveness with God and therefore the chance of new beginnings.

In fact this was one of the main purposes of Jesus’ life: to show us the forgiving heart of God, also to offer us that daily forgiveness.

Forgiveness yes, because like the prodigal son we tend to forget God, to wander away from the place of God’s love and care, to forsake the home of our real Father and Mother. And so become homeless, alienated from our own purpose in life, lost in a strange land where our God-given dignity and honour become compromised and lost.

And then one day, if we become silent enough and look up with a longing and contrite heart, we may discover that God was always there, waiting for us to come home. What is more: we may discover that God does not blame, reproach or reject us.

That God still calls us his/her beloved children, that God is indeed a devoted and forgiving God. That is what forgiveness is: undeserved goodwill and kindness, unconditional acceptance and regard, repeated opportunities of mercy and grace. So that we may start anew each day.

The Dutch theologian Okke Jager once wrote:

“Imagine that on Monday you have eaten of the forbidden fruit like Adam and Eve; on Tuesday laughed at God’s promises like Sarah; on Wednesday deceived your brother like Jacob; on Thursday committed adultery like David; on Friday renounced Jesus like Peter; on Saturday killed your followers like Paul – and then you come on Sunday before God: will there be any hope of mercy and forgiveness?”

To which Jager then answered:

“Yes indeed! – On Sunday the crucified One will once again stretch out his hands with this blessed assurance that nothing will be ever be able to separate us from the love of God.”

This is indeed a message of hope – this message that we have been forgiven and have been granted the mercy and grace of new opportunities.

Carel Anthonissen

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *