Posted by Mark Beckwith on December 07, 2010
"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God -- not the result of works, so that no one may boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9) I remember the first moment I understood the concept of grace. I was a sophomore in college, and a group of us Religion majors were talking after our night class on the Bhagavad Gita (the sacred Hindu texts) and the writings of St. Paul. (I can't remember how the two went together, but apparently they did.) We were discussing grace. Actually, a couple of others were discussing grace and I was trying to "get" what they were talking about. As an athlete, I thought that grace was something that you had to work for. And work hard for. Achieve. Win. A classmate (not an athlete, and now an Episcopal priest) said, no, all you have to do is receive it. "You're kidding", I said. "No, that's all you need to do", he replied. At first I was a bit indignant, because I thought it should be harder than that. I thought that grace was something you went after -- not something you simply received. That conversation was a turning moment for me. One of many conversions in the course of my adult life. I would like to say that it was a 'turn on a dime' moment. It wasn't. While that conversation began an intention to simply receive God's gift of grace, over the years I have discovered that I regularly put up no end of barriers to thwart the receiving of this extraordinary divine gift.