The fire crackled and the sparks popped and bounced off of the sides of our boots. They were placed around the fire to dry. Once the steam looked a bit more like smoke, they were rotated to give the other side a turn. A cast iron frying plan propped up on rocks was sizzling and causing the aroma of elk steaks to fill the night air. Every so often a wolf would howl in the distance causing our heads to gaze off in that direction. As long as the horses tethered here and there around camp remained calm, we were unconcerned. I assume that if bears and wolves liked their meat cooked…they would have figured out how to make fire by now. But since they haven’t…I figure we have nothing to be worried about. The man in charge of packing the kitchen, forgot to bring plates. In fact, we had coffee mugs, a coffee pot, plastic forks and spoons, numerous hunting knives and one frying pan. Food was plentiful; however, you had to eat in courses, because everything was placed into our coffee mugs. I’m sure the elk steaks would have looked better on a plate with side dishes placed expertly around them. But I’m telling you…nothing ever tasted better. I’m not sure if the coffee residue had something to do with the flavor, or just the location and company…but that was the best steak I’ve ever eaten.
Its not often in life, when we can feel the moment…when understanding dawns and we become content in the here and now. Reflecting on those moments…one common theme becomes clear. The moment was bigger than us. The moment was part of something larger and orchestrated by something greater. The birth of a child is one such moment, marriage another…the times when we really should have died…but didn’t. These moments all have another trait in common…we are grateful. Grateful for surviving the accident…grateful for the birth of our children…grateful for being ‘right here – right now’ serving the Almighty God.
“to all who are beloved of God in Rome, called as saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 1:7
“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 1:3
“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Corinthians 1:2
“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” Galatians 1:3
“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 1:2
“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:2
“To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father.” Colossians 1:2
Do you think Paul was pretty consistent in his message…? Not convinced yet…ok.
“To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace.” 1 Thessalonians 1:1
“Grace to you and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 1:2
“To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord….and….To Timothy, my beloved son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.” 1 and 2 Timothy 1:2
“To Titus, my true child in a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.” Titus 1:4
To address some one with “grace and peace to you”…is to show them favor and kindness without regard to their merits. It is a blessing…or maybe I should say BLESSING. It is one of the attributes of God…GRACE. Grace is the stuff that makes the wheels turn and the engine hum…without grace…the connection doesn’t work…the signal won’t come in. Jesus Christ is the embodiment of grace from God above. The sacrifice He provided works because it is fueled by GRACE.
Think of GRACE as the supernatural dusting which fell from heaven when the veil was torn…when the sky darkened…when the earth shook…when Jesus cried out, “It is Finished.” We all know, it is not deserved, it is not earned, grace can only be received. But here is the brain twister about grace…grace is accompanied by faith. Faith is something we do, but it is also something we are given. So how does that work? Do I have faith (believe) first…and then God supplies me with more faith…a stronger faith? Does grace come in quantities…or does a little dusting do just fine? Can I lose the dusting of grace…will my faith go away…can it go away?
Its not often in life, when we can feel God…when understanding dawns and we become content in the here and now. Reflecting on those moments…one common theme becomes clear. The moment was bigger than us. The moment was part of something larger and orchestrated by something greater. Be grateful for those moments when God’s Presence comes near. Be content in your heart knowledge of salvation. Don’t try to reduce God’s supernatural GRACE to a formula…to a prepared sequence of words…a program for eventual knee-bending…let the supernatural of God, remain mysterious and inspiring.
Be content in not understanding…and ‘grace and peace to you all in the name of God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.’