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More or Less Church

Joanna Depue "DJ/Deacon J" writes original songs and liturgies, does daily Farm office work and records Barbara's eMos on The Geranium Farm. A singer and dog trainer she utilizes healing touch in her private massage practice. PLEASE share YOUR original ideas for worship, special liturgies, prayers, songs, sermons and noteworthy blogs right here.
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Friday, September 14, 2018

e-Devotions from The Rev. Bob Dannals

Friday, September 14


"Grace in the Grout"

“Grace is everywhere,” exclaims the dying cure in The Diary of a Country Priest. It is a modest, telling insistence on immanence: God’s near presence in the world, in the daily rhythms of life. It is experienced most distinctly in the pressure point between the exterior and the interior of life, in the social, political and moral realities of our day — what one theologian has called “grace in the grout.”

Preparing for a series this fall on the Sermon on the Mount and reading again the Beatitudes, I thought about the many people who are trying, with God’s grace, to reach beyond their own interior, private faith to apply compassionate service to the lost, the least, and the last. The first verses, you recall, are about the meek inheriting the earth, the hungry being satisfied, and the consolation of those who mourn. But it also seems that a part of living and doing the right thing is getting criticism — or worse. That portion of Jesus’ sermon ends with: “You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom. Not only that — count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens — give a cheer, even! — for though they don’t like it, I do!” (The Message Bible)

Jesus makes the compelling case that anything worth doing is worth standing up and being counted. He gives us a glimpse of a God who can give us the strength we need to take risks, to enter the tough places, engage in challenging dialogue, rubbing grace into the grout — when playing it safe may look to win the day.

These aspects of ministry are tough! Often we are glad to have others serve the least desirable, to take the controversial stand, and to read about other people’s journeys in faith and action. Sometimes the enthusiasm for mission gets lost somewhere, and we end up living vicariously through others.

Thus I am doubly impressed with many Christians who live close to the bone; who every day try to imitate Christ in their service. My hat is off to and my heart is warmed by the many people in the various parishes I’ve served who want to close the gap of hypocrisy that exists between our stated beliefs and the way they live.

So if you are working hard to raise kids in the faith, if you’re seeking to proclaim a thoughtful, progressive gospel, if you’re laboring to write something compelling to a complex society, if you are exercising an active faith in business and industry, and if you are leading with integrity, honesty, and civility — God bless you!

 Yes, grace is everywhere — but it’s felt to be more real when it is expressed through our hands and heart, when it is rubbed into the grout.


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