Last Sunday on the two-year anniversary of my resigning as the pastor of a church, I found myself standing in front of a congregation of people waiting to hear a sermon on a Sunday morning. I am a very different person than I was two years ago. My life is radically different on a daily basis. My view of myself and others has changed dramatically.
My perspective or view of God from the other side of grace is a view I struggle to describe or articulate. If I were reading my words (or someone in my position) in my former life I would be skeptical and pass them off as pathetic and sad. But its my experience and I believe it to be real. I believe God’s presence to be real. I believe that His daily watchfulness of me is real. I believe His love for my family is a reality. I believe that He has never walked away or been hateful toward me. Not once.
As I stood there last Sunday, the grace of God was in the words of Bob Dylan’s classic gospel song, “all over me.” It is true I speak from a broken heart and brokenness but somehow most people who are not pretentious or trying to put on a good show for their fellow Christ followers understand and accept it for what it is.
I quoted a very familiar song. One that I have sung all my life and a line all of a sudden seemed to stick out that I had never thought about before. Amazing Grace is more than a two hundred year old church song or hymn it is also a pop classic and seems to reach across all the lines of demarcation we have given ourselves. I am still processing this line and I share it here today for you to think about. It is profound in my mind. It is breathtaking to me. It is the story of my before, during and after the events of the last two years. Here it is:
“Twas grace that taught my heart to fear . . . and grace my fears relieved.”
I want to say more. I wish I had more to say but I am still unpacking this in my heart and mind so I leave it for you to read and ponder what John Newton was thinking when he wrote that line and what it may mean in your life.