Grace, faith, and George Michael

Written in my journal on February 3, 2007, in Pasadena, California while sitting in the sunshine on the plaza of Paseo de Colorado —

Grace is indeed God’s gift.  A moment of clarity, a vision of that which has been before our eyes all the time.  Grace is the ability to see with the eyes of the heart — the eyes of Jesus — this world, God’s love, our lives, God’s mission, our misunderstanding, our place in God’s kingdom. 

Grace is God at work before we know it — John Wesley called this prevenient grace.  Grace is also God at work when we know it, and as we move in repentance.  Grace is clarity and closeness.  We see ourselves as we are, standing much closer to God than we thought we were, and we are overwhelmed by the love of God, washing over us like waves of hope.

Cleansing, healing, refreshing, making us new — that’s grace.  Not just cleaned up versions of ourselves, but totally new — new eyes, new heart, new hope, new power, new dreams, new desires, new thoughts, new everything.  Grace does this.

Faith is the ability to live into grace.  Faith says, “I’ve never been here before, but this is home!”  Faith knows that the beginning of the journey is not the end, that the changing landscape does not mean we have lost our way, that God is doing what we have seen with the eyes grace gives us.

Of course, faith is God’s gift also.  Faith is given to those who have experienced grace.  Faith comes to those who will issue the invitation to others — “Join us, join God’s work, come with us.” 

As I was writing this seated in the open-air plaza of a shopping and dining area called Paseo de Colorado in Pasadena, music was playing from an apartment balcony overlooking the plaza.  At first, I was annoyed that someone in the apartment was disturbing the quiet of a Sunday morning with their loud stereo.  But, the words to the song suddenly became clear to me.  The song playing was George Michael’s, “Faith.”  The chorus lyric is, “I gotta have faith.”  Who says God doesn’t have a sense of humor? 

— Read the continuation of this entry from my journal at my missional blog, Amicus Dei.