bruce_woodI wanted to take a moment (through this article) to saying something about the concept of Grace and how it has played out in my life recently. I find that I normally write on hotter-button topics, but something happened recently that I really wanted to expound upon. Grace is a concept that is little known and little talked about. Grace is an undeserved gift, a pardon, a “letting off the hook.” Grace is at the heart of the Christian message. Grace is at the heart of our Lenten season which is now upon us.

This past weekend I was involved with my family in a car accident on the Garden State Parkway (as you can see, Pastor George and I have had an “exciting” few weeks). It was raining and we were on our way to Atlantic Highlands from our home at the church here in Brick. We were following another car by more than a few lengths when at the toll plaza a gentleman decided he was not going to alert anyone to his seven-lane change. His actions resulted in our car ending up in the back of the poor fellow and his wife ahead of us.

Now, most people (and this may be the cynic in me) might take advantage of such a situation. They may try to blame everything on everyone else and have the authorities “stick it to me” for hitting them from behind. What occurred was a small measure of Grace. When the Trooper (whose name I cannot remember but who was amazing in responding to all of us) came to take statements, the older gentleman we hit from behind absolved us of the crime – instead he placed it upon the person who cut half the GSP off with his or her antics.

I was truly thankful for that moment of Grace. It wasn’t enough that my three-year old was terrified, that both my wife and I were bruised up pretty good and my car was in pieces but I was afraid now I was going to get a ticket (since even 2-3 car lengths is no good in a rain storm – note to self). This person didn’t feel the need to rub salt in both of our wounds when it was clear it was neither of our faults.

How much more so is this true with Jesus? So many of us are car wrecks. We are the poor, the downtrodden, those who worry about where our next meal or next shelter will come from. We are the “poor of spirit” who wonder if anyone will ever love us. We constantly rebel, causing pain not just to others but to ourselves. But God grants Grace. He says that no matter where we are and what we are doing we are forgiven and restored through it all.

The season of Lent is now upon us. We are reminded at this time that it is the sin and rebelliousness within us that causes us to be separated from God. In this scenario we are the car who hits God from behind. We are liable for the damage and responsible for the recompense. However, instead of “sticking it to us” God placed the blame on another, Jesus, and He took the penalty on our behalf. This is Grace. This is the reality open to all peoples.

Tonight as I write this slowly, my left wrist is sprained and my pride is certainly bruised. But my wife has recovered, my son insists that the “bad man” who caused the accident is, “not allowed on the Parkway” and I am healing slowly. Even the car is going to make it. There was a large helping of Grace to go around for me and my family this week. I only hope our experience helps you to see that God wants and is waiting to extend Grace toward you.

 

Let us turn our hearts today…toward Grace!