Grace in an Awkward World

Life Notes—November 14, 2013 

  “From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” John 1:16-17

Coaches of struggling sports teams often lament the need for players to get back to the basics of the sport. Athletes learn the fundamentals of the game, often at an early age, prior to developing the advanced skills that allow them to perform at a high level. Unfortunately, when they ignore the fundamentals, the effectiveness of their skills deteriorates rapidly. In such cases, players must return to the foundational skills needed for the game.  Once they have solidified the basics, their advanced skills help them excel.

In the science of Physics there is a concept called entropy. It refers to the likelihood of a controlled system falling into disorder or chaos after the removal of its controls. Examples of entropy abound in our world. If I were to stop mowing my grass, my yard would turn into a prairie. After a few months, trees would begin to grow. Within a few years, my yard would resemble a young forest. Obviously, there is nothing wrong with a forest, except that my wife and I want a yard around our home. Entropy manifests when I try to have a yard in an area that naturally tends to grow a forest. To maintain a yard I must obey the fundamentals of lawn care, the most basic of which is regular mowing.

Our spirituality often requires a return to the basics of faith, too. It is easy to become distracted from the fundamental faith practices of reflection, prayer, and the reading of scripture. My personal entropy leads me to the television set or other distractions, while leading me away from faith-strengthening practices. Centering myself in my faith requires regular attention. I must often force myself to spend time in prayer, scripture, and reflection. I must consciously turn away from other attractive entertainments in order to remain spiritually grounded. While entertainment has its place, my ability to enjoy such distractions increases when my spiritual center is intact, as does my ability to handle challenging moments. Like the athlete getting back to the basics of his or her sport, we need a strong foundation in order to excel.

We live in an awkward world. Our lives do not often go the way we want or need without guidance and conscious effort. It is when we are close to our spiritual center we find grace in the awkward moments. Keeping ourselves close to God and grounded in solid faith practices helps us find the grace, often hidden, in everyday moments.

Come home to church this Sunday. Perhaps it is time to get back to the basics of faith.

Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator

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