Thoughts on Grace

“Grace” is amazing!  Those possessed of it seem to me to move through life smoothly, not fearful or worrying, taking things as they come, spinning threads of love wherever they go.  They believe that life is good and have expectations in accord with that belief.

I love the word, and the spiritual idea of “grace.”  And I understand it as derived from the physical sense of “graceful,” as in a graceful curve in a drawing, or the graceful movement of a person, or a swan.  It’s easiest for me to understand it as meaning “unimpeded, smooth flowing,” and, metaphorically, to describe a quality of someone or something that means “non-resistant” to all the good that is available.

So, in my parlance, I’ve made the graceful person out to be someone “who goes with the flow,” not easily put-off by criticism, or by influence, but one who proceeds smoothly, driven by some inner sense of equanimity… all’s right with the world, regardless of appearances.  I’ve thought of grace as something free, available to everyone, ours just for being.

But, as it turns out, in conventional religious parlance, it means “a special and unmerited favor or blessing from God.”  I grew up saying, “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee…” and singing, “Amazing Grace that saved a wretch like me…” grace granted under exceptional circumstances, rather than a natural, innate, even if ignored, attribute.

Somewhere along the way in my spiritual development, my worldview must have changed, and along with it, my sense of what “grace” is.  And, I’m willing to bet, that religious doctrine on “grace” evolved as church hierarchies developed, sweeping away the more natural sense of grace as our birth-state, in favor of a sense of “grace” as something that has to be earned in an act of redemption.

 

Three cheers for natural grace!

Joe Mc Kay

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