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FROM THE PULPIT: Grace is one of God's most wonderful gifts

What is grace? For some it is the prayer said before a meal, like “God is great. God is good. Let us thank him for our food. By his hands we all are fed; give us, Lord, our daily bread.” Or, like the one I learned at summer camp, “Rub-a-dub-dub, thanks for the grub! Yay, God!”

Grace. It is so much more than a prayer before meals. In fact, the kind of grace to which I am referring has nothing to do with a meal at all.

Grace is an act of God. It is when he shows his love and forgiveness toward us humans even when we don’t deserve it.

Throughout the history of humankind we have always rebelled against God. We have separated ourselves from him by the kinds of thoughts we harbor, by the kinds of inappropriate decisions we make, by the harmful and hurtful actions we take.

Because we are the creators of our own messes by not obeying God, it is perfectly well within God’s right to condemn us. But his love for us is too deep for that.

God showed his ultimate level of grace in Jesus Christ. Jesus presents to us the tremendous depth of God’s love. He took upon himself our wrongdoings, our sins, so we would have the opportunity to receive and accept God’s love.

An example of grace is found in Luke chapter 15 where you find the parable we typically call “The Prodigal Son.” I encourage you to read it, bearing in mind it is also a story about our reactions toward God.

Spoiler alert! When the son returned to his formerly shunned home, his father saw him coming and ran to greet him, threw his arms around him, kissed him, and had a huge party for him. The father was overjoyed, because the son who had been lost – who had gone astray – had returned. His father never stopped loving him, and loved him all the more.

That is grace! The son, because of his behaviors, did not deserve to be forgiven or welcomed home. But he was.

Grace is a most wonderful gift given by God. And it only takes the realization and acceptance that God’s love is so deep, he gave himself to us in Jesus Christ. Because of our wrongdoings we do not deserve to be forgiven and welcomed by God. But we are.

This, my friends, is grace.

Mark Broadhead

The Rev. Mark Broadhead is pastor at Laurel Hill Presbyterian Church and First Presbyterian Church of Crestview.

This article originally appeared on Crestview News Bulletin: FROM THE PULPIT: Grace is one of God's most wonderful gifts