From Salvationist 17 August 2019
Grace given and received
MY wife and I were privileged to attend the final festival of this year’s Territorial Music School, which is highlighted in the news feature on pages 8 and 9. Everyone there was treated to an excellent musical programme but we were also left in no doubt about the theme of the school: God’s Grace. In the article two students offer their thoughts about the week, and both of them quote Bible verses about grace; clearly the theme made a strong impression on them.
But it wasn’t just about receiving grace. There was also a focus on showing grace towards others. One of the students says they were reminded during the week that ‘we should be gracious in all aspects of our lives: at school, at work and at church’. It’s a matter of giving grace as well as receiving it.
Grace also features elsewhere in this week’s Salvationist. On pages 10 and 11 we hear from Territorial Addictions Officer Lee Ball about the work being done to support people in recovery. He mentions the ‘psychosocial approach to interventions’ and The Salvation Army’s ‘Christian Approach to Harm Reduction’, which are important and fascinating, but what most caught my attention was his reference to the transformative power of grace. He’s convinced that compassion and acceptance can give people a new understanding of who they are and who they can become. ‘Watch what they do with that,’ he says.
An example is seen in Major Richard Durrant’s reflection on page 14. He tells the story of Sid, who found Jesus because of the gracious acceptance he’d received from Christians. His life was transformed, which led to him apologising to a whole city and giving something back to the community.
Three delegates at the International College for Officers are featured on pages 12 and 13. One of them says how she has seen God’s ‘footprints of grace’ in her life over the years and all three explain how God’s grace enables them to serve him.
In his viewpoint article on page 15 Major David Cavanagh considers the pros and cons of Facebook. It can bring people together in positive engagement but it can also be used to humiliate, insult and undermine. He challenges us to introduce grace into our social media presence by communicating ‘something of the energy and drive of God’s transformative love’.
If grace has been experienced it needs to be expressed – for the benefit of others but also ourselves. If we fail to give grace, we might find the grace we receive loses its power. Like the Dead Sea, where fresh water flows in but doesn’t flow out – resulting in extreme saltiness in which no fish or plant can live – our spiritual experience could become lifeless if we fail to show grace to others.
May we always be willing to give freely of the grace that we have freely received.
God forgave my sin in Jesus’ name,
I’ve been born again in Jesus’ name;
And in Jesus’ name I come to you
To share his love as he told me to.
He said: ‘Freely, freely, you have received,
Freely, freely give;
Go in my name, and because you believe
Others will know that I live.’
From the Editor,
LIEUT-COLONEL JONATHAN ROBERTS
Check out our article of the week here.
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