Grace Notes

“Grace Notes” is a collection of short essays on living a life of grace in the everyday world.

When Life Doesn’t Go As Planned

Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. So the sisters sent a message to Jesus, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” But when Jesus heard it, . . .  though [he] loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, . . .  he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.” When she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary, and told her privately, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” And when she heard it, she got up quickly and went to him. Now Jesus had not yet come to the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. The Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary get up quickly and go out. They followed her because they thought that she was going to the tomb to weep there. When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus began to weep. So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?” Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb.— John 11:20-38a

    Where is God when things don’t go as planned, when your life feels out of control, and you Continue Reading →

A Lover’s Quarrel with the World

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” — John 3:16-17

  Our children had a wonderful nanny, a member of one of the first congregations I served.  Over the years Continue Reading →

STAY AWAKE!

Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.
— Matthew 24: 42-44

There is such urgency in Jesus’ voice as he warns his followers to stay awake and be on the lookout Continue Reading →