Expecting Grace

Yesterday morning we watched a hawk perched in a tree across the street. From our position in the front window, in the first light of a gray day, amongst the gray trees of winter, its gray form seemed merely another branch. It flew from tree to ground and back to tree where it sat motionless. It was this tree-ground oscillation that first drew my attention to the bird, and I wondered how many things hang around in trees, camouflaged, and I never notice.

One of my morning “chores” is to watch the backyard birds eat their breakfast – cardinals, doves, chickadees, sparrows, and finches. Lately, we’ve noticed a pair of pileated woodpeckers hanging around the neighborhood. But a hawk is special. It’s a large bird of prey, frequently seen soaring, but hardly viewed up close, still. I counted this a grace and a good start to the day.

This morning while we were eating breakfast, my newly-turned-two son pointed outside, “Gawk! Gawk!” He was asking after the bird. If it was there the previous day, why not this morning? I guess for a two-year-old, a one-time experience easily becomes a daily expectation.

Why is this not the same with us? If we once experienced the grace of Christ, should we not point at that grace, expecting it to come again?

Instead, as adults, we are able to distinguish between normal day events and more special occurrences. I expect grace to be a fleeting moment of joy, like the viewing of a unique animal, or the happy hug of a friend. It happens, but it’s not something we bank on every day. But grace is not like an event that comes and goes, starts then finishes, remaining absent for a period of time. Grace is anything but linear. Grace moves fluidly, whether we’re aware of it or not, like the turning of the earth, day to night and back to day. Winter to spring to summer to fall. Grace may manifest in different ways, but since the creation of the world, this spiritual phenomena encircles our lives. Grace moves through closed doors and into our presence. The reason for this is, of course, that grace originates in the Godhead. Grace is the Person of Christ ministered to us by the Spirit of Christ.

Do I expect it? Am I aware of it? Am I saying “Grace! Grace!” every morning when I wake?

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