Good morning, friends. Karen Webber offers us today’s reflection on SoulStream’s value: An Embodiment of Grace. Karen, your willingness to give space for your lived experience and your wonderings is deeply moving. Thank you! And thank you for gifting us with the question: “Could I already be grace in my core?” A stirring consideration…
An Embodiment of Grace
Grace is the loving activity of God’s presence in our lives. We are fully embraced in grace and we are learning to live in such a way that we embody God’s loving presence at work in our world. By our lives and actions we bring life and hope and a sense of wonder and integration into all our relationships. We call people to notice the beauty of God’s work in their own life and in the world at large.
Grace. Embodying God’s loving presence. These words, in particular, have caught my attention through the last couple of months. They take me first to the places where I have felt anything but grace for myself or another. The difficult conversation during the Christmas season with some family. The interactions in other relationships. Embody grace EVEN here? When what I initially feel is reactivity?
Here is a little of what emerged for me as I lived into these experiences.
As I gave my felt reactivity space to speak, over time it said I felt defended, sad, angry, mistrusted, misunderstood, dismissed, and/or disrespected, depending on the situation. As uncomfortable as it was at times to linger here prayerfully rather than avoid or dismiss my inner experience, I wanted to trust that somehow God would continue to be present and at work within all of this. In time, over several days, I felt a faint flicker of desire. For relationship. Grace infused relationship. Even when all within me did not align with how I would like it be. That felt hopeful.
The lectionary offering during this season included the gospel reading about the baptism of Jesus. Somehow “You are my child, the beloved; with you I am well pleased” shifted to be blessing on me from the heart of Jesus, with hands firmly cupping my head. And I wondered “how could this possibly be?” Breaking into my awareness, as if in response, was the sense of grace being the essence of who I have been created to be. Could I already be grace in my core? The question caught me by surprise and invited me to pay attention over the next hours, days.
As I was walking one day, the process of a Rembrandt restoration came to mind, where those who have a sense of the inherent beauty painstakingly attend to the multiple layers of thick varnish applied over the years, blurring the colours and exquisiteness. The restored portion is alive with vibrancy. Might the presence and action of my Loving Restorer be exposing the layers dimming the inner beauty of grace within?
Beginning to believe that grace is my essence somehow opens the door wider for me to spaciously listen to my inner experience, to offer myself grace, to the possibility of releasing protective layers to the Loving Restorer, and to surrendering to the grace within, choosing to live from this place. And so, my path of learning to live in such a way to embody God’s loving presence in my relationships unfolds.
Continuing on from the phrase Andrea offered a couple of weeks ago: As we step into the flowing river of God’s already-present grace surrounding and filling us all, may we, each in our uniqueness, be enlivened into embodying God’s loving presence in all of our relationships.