We had an exciting discussion tonight at Bible study about the grace of God: a good strong Lutheran topic–well, Christian topic. We looked at Luther’s Preface to Romans, and his definitions of faith and grace, then turned to St. Paul, and the Gospel according to John 3:1-17, the portion for Sunday. Now that might sound dry, but the story of Nicodemus is never dull, and we appreciated again, how beautiful Jesus’ words about the wind of the Spirit are.
One of the things I love about discussing grace in Bible studies is the tangible effect it has on the people discussing it. Sometime in every discussion, there comes a moment, or moments of reverent silence, as each person actually takes in, if only for a few seconds, the radical promise of God’s grace for them, God’s mercy for them, God’s amazing love and power and beauty, for them. You can see the Gospel going to work on people right before your very eyes.
Then we talked about how the experience of the grace of God affects our response to what’s happening in Japan. We knew we could respond in prayer and financial giving, but wondered what more could be done from our side. There’s a strange kind of helplessness to watching so much suffering at a distance. Prayer is effacacious–that, we agreed on. How open everyone’s hearts are to God and to each other in such times. I pray that our openness will stay for a while, for that is what Lent’s turning is all about.