Encounters with Jesus change the lives of each character we studied throughout the Breakfast Bible Study this semester. Grace is like that. Grace is what God does for us -- that which we could not do for ourselves. Grace changes our hearts, souls and minds. Grace empowers us to live as the people God created us to be. People created to love: love God, our neighbor and ourselves. Our semester study of 'The Way of Grace' concluded with an Agape meal or love feast. The feast is a simple, ritual meal. Hymns are sung, Scripture is read, and testimonies and stories of faith are shared. John Wesley instituted the Agape meal after the Moravian pattern to symbolize the unity and fellowship of love in Christ.
One of our resident artists, Morgan, shared three original paintings to accompany each of the three courses. Through color, light and subject, each piece illuminated for us a dimension of grace.
In her memoir, Out of Africa, Isak Dineson wrote, "We have all of us been told that grace is to be found in the universe. But in our human foolishness and shortsightedness we imagine divine grace to be finite. For this reason we tremble...But the moment comes when our eyes are opened, and we see and realize that grace is infinite." The pile of bread on the table at the center of the room focused our attention on the abundance of grace that is offered to us in Christ. It is out of God's abundant grace that we live. Grace calls us to life. We are invited to live confidently, trusting in God's presence while we work, play and sleep. Matthew 6:33-34 says, "But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."
Dallas Willard says, "Grace not only cleanses us (from sin), but it is the fuel that propels us forward as we bring the presence and love of God into the world each day. As we live for Jesus and bring his love to the world, the kingdom is near."
As followers of Jesus we live by grace. May God's presence continue to bless and keep us on this journey of ever deepening faith.