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By Dan Baumgartner on
Dan Baumgartner
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May 17 in Musings
It’s funny how we can utterly ruin good words by distorting their meaning or just plain overuse. Our Christian vocabulary is littered with the corpses of words that have become so cliché as to seem meaningless. But oddly enough, one word we use quite a bit still retains something of its original power-  grace. Even the derivative words like graceful or gracious conjure up immediate images of beauty, gentleness or favor.
Certainly, when grace is held in theologically adept hands like those of the Apostle Paul
(“for it is by grace we have been saved, through faith,” Ephesians 2), we are transported not just into the world of linguistics but approach God’s very purpose in dealing with human beings.
I have found myself gingerly sprinkling conversations with this word grace recently.
Whether in conversation with parents or standing in front of our community for the baptism of a child, I am drawn to the declaration of God’s undeserved, unmerited love. It moves me every time. When we baptize infants, we obviously are not celebrating the faith of a baby. Nor are we celebrating the faith of the parents- as critically important as that is. We are celebrating God’s faithfulness and grace, poured out in forgiveness, compassion and deep love with unchecked generosity.
When Frederick Buechner writes about such a profound word in his book Wishful Thinking, he says “The grace of God means something like: “Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are, because the party wouldn’t have been complete without you. Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid. I am with you. Nothing can ever separate us. It’s for you I created the universe. I love you.””
Having received such a gift, we can’t simply hoard it. We turn to those around us and practice giving.  And it does take practice. “Let your conversation be always full of grace...”  (Colossians 4).  Live graciously. Forgive gracefully.  Good words...even God words.
See you soon,
       Pastor Dan

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