Gifts and Graces

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“I realized that maybe who I am — if I possess the gifts and graces for the episcopacy — maybe who I am could be a gift to the church at this moment.”
— Bishop Karen Oliveto, Religion News Service, July 19, 2016

Gifts and graces.
Just that.
Gifts and graces.

God among us,
God within us,
God through us.
Imparting gifts —
gifts with direction.
Gifts on a journey.
Gifts that take us with them
on the way to holiness,
on the way to justice,
on the way to God’s kindom.

Graces —
Spirit-borne love and blessings,
breathed in at first breath.
Inescapable,
inseparable from being created by the hand of God.

Gifts and graces
do not belong to us
any more than our children do.
They come from elsewhere
and pass through us
on the way to a destiny held by God.

Gifts and graces
cannot be owned by us,
but neither can they be claimed,
used,
or manipulated
by anyone else.

It is not the job of the church
to limit God,
to direct God,
to shuttle God
in the direction we want God to go.

God cannot be confined.
Try to suppress the Holy Spirit
and she will swirl around behind you,
lighting up the sky with rainbow fireworks,
and you, head down, trying to restrain the unrestrainable,
will miss the whole thing.

The church is not a container.
It can’t be.
It is meant to be an ever-expanding circle of love,
constantly overreaching itself to get to the next margin
and wrap the souls stranded there
in the relentless love of God.

Gifts and graces.
We pray for them.
We have been given them.
Let us not cast away
what God is trying to place in our hands.
Let us not stand in the way
of this new thing God is doing –
do you not see??
It is springing up among us,
fresh growth we did not plant,
in fields we were taught were fallow.

The church does not belong to us.
The church belongs to God.
May all souls, all gifts, all graces
be welcome here
as we stand together as witnesses
to the beautiful, resplendent, abundant life
that God is trying so hard to give
to everyone.

 


6 thoughts on “Gifts and Graces

  1. Lindy….I have followed your writings and celebrated each one! But, this….this is inspired, remarkable and such a gift! It brings tears, it brings challenge. It frees the God we love to be our mysterious and loving creator. Thank you for this!

    Liked by 2 people

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