Friday, May 27, 2011

Grace that Amazes

With my mind on the "May 21st debacle" and a seemingly unending series of tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, and so on, I try to turn things around in my mind to make some sort of sense. I found myself saying to someone recently, "After seeing videos of intense tornadoes, I can see how it would appear to looks like the hand of God reaching down from Heaven to blot out the earth with his forefinger - but that would have to be a judgemental God, not the saving God I know."

I have chosen a few videos carefully. The adrenaline rush experienced by those either unwittingly or purposefully recording a tornado sound often too much like excitement. It must be the case, as fear and excitement often are physically experienced in the same way. The first shows the compassion, the second grief - both honoring. The third, gorgeous photography of one of the most menacing "clouds" most have ever seen, or ever hope to see.

Tuesday night at Bible Study, Dr. Rev. Timothy Smith ( made some important points in exploring the concept of grace (in contrast to judgement), and I'd like to share them here.

Psalm 103:8 states, "The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love."

We often clump those two words together, mercy and grace, but they are two ends of and amazing spectrum. Rev. Smith explained, "Mercy is when God withholds deserved judgement or punishment. Grace is when God gives to us good things that we do not deserve. True grace, t he grace of God, not only implies un-merit (we have nothing to earn or deserve His gifts and goodness, but actually implies de-merit - we are completely unworthy of the gifts, to the extent of being at fault, yet He gives us His grace anyway. The greatest example is Jesus saying, while He is being killed, 'Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.'"

What do these natural disasters have to do with God's gifts and grace? First, that it seems unreal that so "few" people actually die (at least in the United States). A six mile swath of tornado destruction seems like it 'should' have done more. Yet more than 100 people did die. What of them? That's why our "own personal May 21st" is important - to be ready, joyfully, instead of fearfully, to meet a God of grace at any moment.

"We sing Amazing Grace, but does God's grace still amaze us?" (Dr. Smith)

Heather J. Kirk, Photographer, Author, Graphic Designer."We..." an e-book at: Find her art at: Artist Websitesand

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