An Act of Grace Devotion – April 2013

Act of Grace - WebsiteAn Act of Grace Devotion

Faith United Methodist Church, April 2013

Scripture:  Read John 1:14-18

From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.” John 1:16

Reflection:  The first sermon in Faith UMC’s April sermon series, Grace Notes, was inspired by the U2 song, Grace.  The lyrics written by U2 lead singer, Bono, paint a beautiful picture of grace. See below to read some of the lyrics:

“Grace
She takes the blame
She covers the shame
Removes the stain
It could be her name”
 
“Grace
It’s a name for a girl
It’s also a thought that changed the world
 
Grace finds goodness in everything”
 
“What once was hurt
What once was friction
What left a mark no longer stings
Because grace makes beauty out of ugly things”
 

Grace does indeed make beauty out of ugly things.  Consider the cross.  God took an instrument of brutal torture and humiliation and transformed it into the most amazing gift of love, truth, hope, and grace the world has ever known.  You and I are recipients of that gift; that unmerited gift of God’s love.  The gift of God making beauty out of ugly things.

We might not like to think of ourselves as ugly, but truth be told, we are.  We know that as followers of Christ we are called to share his love and grace in the world.  But far too often our ugliness gets in the way.  We focus more on ourselves rather than seeking God’s kingdom. We stumble.  We fall.  But remember, grace finds goodness in everything! Even in brokenness and failure. By grace, God takes our brokenness and uses it to make beauty out of ugly things. And he calls us to live and practice this same grace so that others can experience his goodness and beauty. Imagine what might happen  if  every person in our congregation committed to being intentional about touching one person’s life with God’s grace every day.  What beauty and goodness might we experience?  How might our world change?

With rich simplicity John, in the First chapter by his name, describes this most remarkable and extraordinary gift that changed the world. The Word became flesh! We have seen his glory! God loves us so much, he sent his Son full of grace and truth to teach us how to live and how to love.  He gave the right to become children of God to all who receive him and believe in his name! John 1:16 reminds us, “From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.” I hope that thought leaves you filled with wonder and awe!

Consider the wonder and awe experienced by Jesus’ first disciples as they discovered his empty tomb. Jesus did what he said he would do! On Easter Sunday, we celebrated the revelation of the fullness of God’s grace! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!  By his grace, we are blessed and called to be a blessing to others. Let us continue to be awe-inspired and motivated by the power of the Resurrection and allow God to use us to make beauty out of ugly things!

Questions for Reflection and Sharing:
 
–          In what ways have you experienced God’s grace making beauty out of ugly things?
–          What blessings have you received from the fullness of God’s grace?
–          What blessings has our congregation witnessed and experienced because of the fullness of God’s grace?
–          In what ways is God calling you and your ministry team to make beauty out of ugly things?
 

Prayer Focus:  Pray for our congregation to carry the celebration of the Resurrection at Easter into the months ahead and share God’s blessings and grace in the world around us.

Prayer:  Loving God, thank you for the gift of your Son, Jesus. Help us to continue to experience the power of the Resurrection and the blessings of your grace as we live into the Easter season. Help us to remember that we are blessed to be a blessing and reveal to us how you want us to share your love and grace in this world.  Show us how to be an instrument of your grace and use us to make beauty out of ugly things! In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.

A Prayer of John Wesley: “O that we may all receive of Christ’s fullness, grace upon grace; grace to pardon our sins, and subdue our iniquities; to justify our persons and to sanctify our souls; and to complete that holy change, that renewal of our hearts, whereby we may be transformed into that blessed image wherein thou didst create us.”

Means of Grace Challenge: 

Prayer: Pray for your family, church, and community. Visit Faith UMC’s Prayer Room or contact Faith’s Pastors or Director of Christian Education & Spiritual Formation for additional prayer resources.

Act of Grace: Commit to being intentional about touching one person’s life with God’s grace each day. Be creative and have fun! Look for Act of Grace cards in the literature racks and share them with someone. These acts of grace can be simple with no planning required or can involve your friends and family and plan something extravagant! Whatever you do, do it for the glory of God!

Act of GraceSome suggestions:

  • let someone go ahead of you in line at the grocery store
  • smile and hold a door for someone
  • make time to listen to someone
  • help a neighbor’s child with their homework
  • share food or clothes with someone who is hungry or in need
  • surprise someone by paying for their meal or a cup of coffee
  • make friends with someone who is lonely or new to our congregation or your neighborhood
  • write an encouraging note or email to someone and tell them how you see God at work in their life
  • Help a neighbor or  an elderly person clean up their yard for spring

 To access previous Act of Grace Devotions, visit our website at www.faithumchurch.org or our Faith Formation Blog, http://www.faithumchurch.wordpress.com

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About faithumchurch

Spiritual Formation Director at Faith United Methodist Church in North Canton, Ohio
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