Opinion: Finding Meaning

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The Meaning of Grace

In honor of Good Friday, today celebrated around the world, a more spiritual column seems appropriate. The subject that came to mind is one of the most precious yet least understood—the grace of God through Christ. I write not as a theologian but as an ordinary person of faith, seeking to understand.

Grace, in the religious sense, comes in two forms: The means of our salvation after death, but also the means of forgiveness and renewal in this life. Some have referred to these as unlocking the gates of heaven versus opening the windows of heaven during our lives. I humbly address the latter, the means by which we are blessed to rise about our limitations and bear the seemingly unbearable.

The Apostle Paul spoke often of grace. To Timothy he taught the eternal nature of a grace, given by God “in Christ Jesus before the ages began.” To the Ephesians, he taught of its broad availability, “to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.” The Corinthians were taught that in all their strivings, they should “excel in this act of grace.” Grace then is timeless, universal, and essential.

The Apostle James taught a principle of receiving grace, reminding that God “gives grace to the humble.” Grace comes by prayer, as our prayers at meals, referred to as “saying grace.” And grace is given in our weakness: Paul told the Corinthians a promise from his own infirmity learned from Christ, “My grace is sufficient and… made perfect in weakness.”

Don’t the Beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount describe paths to grace? And isn’t grace the path to “a new heart… and a new spirit” promised in our time by Ezekiel? The Prophet Ether taught that grace was the means by which the weak, if humble, become strong.

A touching example of grace was given by Pastor Jerry Tankersley, now retired after 46 years leading Laguna Presbyterian, in Westmont Magazine. When Tankersley first joined the ministry, his marriage unexpectedly began to fail. He was devastated by the experience, describing himself as “filled with shame and a profound sense of failure.” He felt marked, broken. Tankersley turned away from the church and began the study of law.

There then began a process where friends from his church community reached out to help, and to lift up. Tankersley rediscovered the scriptures and healing began. As he recollected in the article, “I experienced grace.” Tankersley was welcomed back to the ministry, found a place in Laguna Beach, and the rest is history.

Grace is the greatest of God’s gifts, the supply unlimited. We just have to embrace it. Doesn’t it seem we should give more place in our lives to receiving grace? The Beautiful Wife and I wish you a blessed Easter and a new birth of grace. There’s meaning in that.

Skip fell in love with Laguna on a ‘50s surfing trip.  He’s a student of Laguna history and the author of “Loving Laguna: A Local’s Guide to Laguna Beach.” Email:  [email protected]

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