Grace as a Cornerstone of Our Faith

October 01, 2022

I am praying for the laity and clergy of the Mountain Sky Conference as we prepare ourselves to come together for worship on Sunday.

I recently read an article that quoted NYC pastor Rev. Michael Keller: “We’ve become less of a forgiving culture.”

Everywhere we turn, we see the truth of this statement. Fuses are short. Tempers are hot. Our willingness to assume good intentions even when another’s action might have unintended consequences that inconvenience or confuse us is getting thinner and thinner.

Civility seems lost as we see fights over food in grocery stores, battles over parking spots, and pushes and shoves when a simple “excuse me” would suffice.
Is civility in short supply, or is it grace?

Grace and forgiveness are intimately entwined. We United Methodists believe that grace abounds in God’s love for us. So wide and generous is God’s grace that it goes ahead of us, inviting us into a deeper experience of it.

Have we really experienced this grace, freely and abundantly given to us? How has this grace informed how we move in the world? Do we seek to be a grace-filled people, our lives a witness to God’s grace?

Each week, we pray together the Lord’s Prayer. Every. Single. Week. This prayer includes, “forgive us our trespasses (debts/sins) as we forgive those who have trespassed against us.” (Matthew 6:12). How well are we offering forgiveness to others? Could it be that our inability to open ourselves up to the power of grace is limiting us in our ability to forgive?

This weekend, the clergy of the conference met together. We acknowledged the difficult season we have been in, how COVID stretched us, denominational angst stressed us, and feelings of inadequacy plagued us as we considered the limits of our leadership in this time.

We needed to feel the reality of grace. And we needed the power of forgiveness. We needed not only to forgive others, we needed to forgive ourselves. There were tears and there were sighs too deep for words as we prayed silently and together. We reminded ourselves of God’s grace that assures us that we are forgiven.

May you, too, spend time in prayer with God. Let go of the guilt you are feeling and feel God lightening your load through the power of forgiveness. May the grace your experience be poured out in the world, increasing kindness and compassion in a world that has forgotten how to forgive.

With love,
Bishop Karen