Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Rediscovering The Word Grace

For approximately a decade I have had a problem with the word "grace." No doubt it is because my religious beliefs have changed so much during that time.

I was once give a definition of the words "grace" and "mercy" from a fundamentalist Christian viewpoint, which at the time was predominantly my viewpoint.

"Mercy" meant not getting what we deserve from God, and "grace" meant getting what we don't deserve. Grace was undeserved. Even though I was a dirty, miserable sinner, God being gracious gave me good things. Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me...right?

However, when I eventually came to believe that we are not dirty, miserable sinners, but rather loved, lovable, and deserving people, that left the word "grace" out in the cold. What was the purpose of the word if it didn't mean God doing us a favour and giving us good things every once in awhile?

I have missed the word "grace." It is a beautiful word. Tonight I did what all good writers do and I looked up the definition on Dictionary.com. The first thing that came up was: "elegance and beauty of movement, form, expression, or proportion." Now there is a definition that I can get behind. When I think of grace, I think of the way the leaves on the trees blow on an early Autumn morning. I think of two elderly people walking down the street hand in hand. I think of a beautiful dancer sweeping across the stage.

Once again I can embrace grace, and leave the unworthiness behind.