William Willimon says that the very essence of grace is to receive the gift of laughter — especially when the joke is on us. The reality is that at any age of our lives, perfection is always elusive. Sometimes our learning moments happen in public. One of the gifts of God’s presence is an indwelling awareness of the wonder and enjoyment of graceful growth, and the realization that life is always more meaningful when we invite others to join us.
Yes, this certainly IS a strange 4th of July! I’ve heard so many people say that — or something like that — almost everywhere I’ve been (with my mask firmly in place and six feet away). No big cookouts. No gatherings to enjoy fireworks. No parties by the pool. But there is much to be celebrated because we have been invited, compelled, by our own Declaration of Independence to hold our government accountable to upholding the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness.
Twenty years ago I learned that life can change in an instant, and that the power of raging water should never be underestimated. But more importantly, I learned that the presence of God’s love within a caring and supportive community can enable us to overcome adversity and find meaning in every moment of our lives.
Reinhold Niebuhr said somewhere that the very essence of sin is to take ourselves too seriously. If that’s true, then the very essence of grace is to receive the gift of laughter, especially when the joke is on us.”
Looking for someone to blame is only one of the ways that we can miss the main point. In times of stress it is easy to get off-track and lose focus. We are only human, after all, and we do not know how to do everything perfectly. But we are not alone. We live in God’s love, and we are in that love together.
Every once in a while as a musician, I experience a moment of absolute beauty and my soul just opens up and relaxes for a moment. I rarely have any warning about when these moments will happen, but they are SO very rare and powerful that I find myself saying yes to way more projects than I probably should, just in case.
My mother had 5 sisters, and they had names that are not often heard anymore, except for one. Agnes, Gertrude, Myrtis, Gladys, and Beth. When these aunts of mine would come for Thanksgiving our house came alive with laughter, almost screeching, as these sisters really enjoyed each other.