Grace first met with me over breakfast. And how I needed that encounter.
We are reading aloud to one another, as part of our morning devotions, and right now it's Francis Spufford's book, Unapologetic. Where, in Chapter One, he describes how the novelist Richard Powers wrote that the Adagio movement of Mozart's Clarinet Concerto sounds the way mercy would sound.
It's one of my favourite pieces. I'm listening to Andrew Marriner and the London Symphony Orchestra ... and just as Spufford mentions, it's a very patient piece of music. Unhurried, lilting, the tune going round and round "in messageless tenderness .... it sounds as if it comes from a world where sorrow is perfectly ordinary, but there is still more to be said. It said, everything you fear is true. And yet. And yet. Everything you have done wrong you have really done wrong. And yet. And yet. Let yourself count, just a little bit, on a calm that you do not have to be able to make for yourself, because it is here, freely offered. You are still deceiving yourself, said the music, if you don't allow for the possibility of this. There is more going on here than what you deserve, or don't deserve. There is this, as well."
So it sounds the way mercy would sound - mercy, getting something kind instead of the sensible consequences of an action; something better than you could have expected.
And that was Grace to me. To us. And because we have been graced with grace, we can grace others with grace. A more literal translation of Matthew 10:8, which usually says something along the lines of freely you have received, freely give. We are graced - given mercy by God. So we extend it to others.
To read that; to listen to the Clarinet Adagio; to receive mercy.
And that would have been enough.
But there was more.
This time through Brennan Manning, who recently went on to Glory. His memoir, All is Grace, has a book video trailer which I happened upon later. I've ordered the book and await its arrival; but this snippet of Manning, preaching, speaking - interspersed with footage of him in his illness and incapacity; this story of a man, an alcoholic, but saved by mercy, extending grace. This, this spoke fathoms deep to me. Watch it soon, weep and rejoice. Grace met me with me through this.
And that would have been enough. But there was more.
Meeting face-to-face with Sally. She is not my Spiritual Director (that would be Joy, who is aptly named). She is a trained psychotherapist and counsellor - and the sweetest American I know, saved by grace and extending grace. I've been meeting with her for some time (you know already my PTSS and depression of the past 2 years.) As she prayed for me today, Grace came again.
Sweet Grace. Amazing Grace.
Have you encountered Grace today?