Resting In and Receiving God’s Grace

It amuses me every year, the 180 degree switch in advertising between the week before Christmas and the week after. Stores that offered cozy sweaters, slippers, jewelry and expensive gadgets now offer moisture-wicking t-shirts, free weights, exercise equipment, shelves and storage containers.

I get a cooking magazine. While the December cover features “Easy & Indulgent Comfort Food” and “Glorious Prime Rib” the January cover is all about “Eat Great & Lose Weight in 2016” and “Your Get-Healthy Guide.”

Few of us are immune to the drumbeat in our culture of “new year, new habits, new you.” I admit that I am not. I have spent some time during this in-between week sorting through closets and thinking how much better my life would be “if only” I could exercise more, eat fewer sweets (especially after Christmas—oof!), pray and meditate more, worry less, sleep more, etc. etc. etc.

While it is tempting to add some spiritual “to do’s” to everyone’s list—prayer books to use, books to read, practices to try—instead I want to offer all of us an alternative resolution: Instead of trying harder and doing more, how about if our goal is to rest and receive?

Consider Denise Levertov’s poem, The Avowal:

Photo by Andy Morffew

Photo by Andy Morffew

As swimmers dare
to lie face to the sky
and water bears them,
as hawks rest upon air
and air sustains them,
so would I learn to attain
freefall, and float
into Creator Spirit’s deep embrace,
knowing no effort earns
that all-surrounding grace.

The fundamental desire of God is to love each of us, completely and utterly, exactly as we are. There is not a thing we do to deserve this gift, we only receive it—as the swimmers body receives the buoyancy of the water and the hawks wings are lifted by the air.

May our 2016 resolutions include receiving the supporting, sustaining, unwavering love of God, deep within our weary selves.

Pastor Lori