Monday, May 08, 2017

Means of Grace

From Rachel Held Evans book, Searching for Sunday:
“I was always denied baptism and communion growing up,” Andrew said. “My dad told me I wasn’t manifesting enough fruits of the Spirit in my life. He wanted me to wait until I was good enough, holy enough.”
One of the gifts I received from my Walk to Emmaus is the concept of means of grace (it’s Wesley – taught by Emmaus). There are ways that God has established that help us to know and accept grace. Sacraments are means of grace (although there are countless others). Baptism and communion are ways that God has created as guideposts for us to recognize – to notice – God’s grace.

I was speaking with a woman who was baptized as a child – forced to do so by her parents. She is a woman of faith, but she is uncertain whether the baptism “took.” I want her to have confidence in the presence of God in her life, and who am I to argue with what she feels, but I want to tell her that God is who act through baptism – not us. It isn’t magic – it’s a symbol that God has accepted – adopted – us as children of his own. We can do nothing to change that.

I remember that my grandmother wouldn’t participate in communion because she was angry with a neighbor. The thing is that communion isn’t offered to anyone who is free of sin. If it were, then Jesus would not have offered it to the disciples. It is a means of grace – a way for God to help us remember that we are forgiven, accepted and loved.

There isn’t a magic line we have to reach in order to receive grace. There is a test we have to pass. There is only us and only God. God invites; we accept. We (not me, not you, not Andrew, not his father) are never “good enough.” That’s WHY there is baptism; why there is communion. Because we need it.

Andrew continued, “’I put off baptism because I felt like I was in a state of sin, like I wasn’t good enough or fit enough to be baptized. But then I realized that baptism is done at the beginning of your faith journey, not the middle or the end You don’t have to have everything together to be baptized…You just have to grasp God’s grace. God’s grace is enough.”

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