One of the things I continue to be struck by as we live in a new place with a language different from our own, is that our very existence here is a living invitation to participate in grace. On a regular basis, we depend on others to offer us grace in ways they can choose to either offer, or walk away from. In ways both large and small, the interactions we have with friends, neighbors, coffee shop workers, bakeries, and people on the street – can shape our day in ways they may never fully realize.
We are living in constant need of the grace of others.
There are just as many responses to this invitation as there are moments and ways that we invite it. Just this past week, I (Chadwick) went in for a simple COVID test (no worries, it was negative). The lady (dressed head to toe in fully protective gear), seemed impressed by my giant throat and lack of gag reflex. I would have loved to share with her, stories of ministry with teenagers, and how I’ve practiced for these tests by flossing spaghetti through my nose. Unfortunately, with my limited Hungarian I simply said “Thank you.” After she finished swabbing the back of my throat, I wanted to ask her if they were going to take my blood. I couldn’t remember the word for blood, but I knew the word for “heart” and the word for “juice”, so I went with that.
She laughed, understood what I was asking and shook her head while saying a lot of words that I couldn’t really understand but had to assume was, “Oh no, we don’t take your blood here in this office.”
She offered grace.
As you recognize that for a moment, and how unique our experience is as Americans living in Hungary, take a moment to recognize the truth revealed here: Every person you meet and interact with today is a living invitation to participate in grace and love.
Our world has offered us a vision, which we must confess, reject, and repent from our involvement in. Our broken world has offered us a vision and expectation that every person we meet and interact with today is a living invitation for us to conquer, protect ourselves against, gain from, or endure.
When we are fully abiding in the Love and Life of Jesus Christ (John 15:5), we are securely attached to the source of our identity and hope in ways that set us free (& empower us) to offer His grace to others. To be hospitable in our moments of previous hurry. To not need to win the conversation that became an argument. To listen without filling our mind with what we can say next.
The first step toward becoming such a gracious presence – is to recognize the grace with which we have been met in God. It is not a grace that leaves our brokenness undisturbed or our addictions unaddressed. But it is yet Grace, foundationally built upon Loving welcome and valued embrace.
May we offer this same love to others, even when it seems they’re still learning to speak the language of the Kingdom…