Monday of Epiphany 5 – Prayer of the Week

O Lord, keep Your family the Church continually in the true faith that, relying on the hope of Your heavenly grace, we may ever be defended by Your mighty power; through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

The young preacher did not want to make this phone call. But he knew he had to. Something had happened. He was pretty sure he knew what it was. A member was angry and offended at something he had said. There was a part of him that got defensive. It is hard to come up with sermons, newsletter articles, and devotions, and much more week after week and month after month. When you generate so many words, sometimes your mouth or the keys on your computer run a little too fast or you did not get to proof-read it carefully enough, or you simply did not see it that way.

But he had to make this call. He needed to apologize to this person. It was not the first time. It would not be the last time. Just once, he thought, it would be nice the person who was in the right, the person who was receiving the apology. But if that day was coming, it was not this day.

We pray in the prayer that we may ever be defended by God’s mighty power. But it is the phrase right before that which interests me today: relying on God’s heavenly grace. It is hard to rely on grace. We are much more comfortable relying on our skills, our training, and our experiences, the sorts of things we measure by being “right.” But that is not enough. Even the best people fail. We need grace. Grace is a measure which applied when we are wrong often dead wrong. All of us need grace. We need it because grace is the freely given gift, irrespective of our success or failure. God’s grace is simply given out of God’s nature.

It is the only way that I have the courage to ascend a pulpit or write these devotions. I acknowledge God’s gifts, but rely on His grace. If these words, this life of mine, this ministry to which any of us are called will be a thing of God’s beautiful kingdom, it will be because He is gracious.

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