“Every morning is an expression of your mercy, God, and every evening a benediction of your grace.”
(The Reverend Dr. Fred B. Craddock, one Sunday morning at the original location of Cherry Log Christian Church)
We followed the most gorgeous moon to school this morning. Full and bright and still glowing just before 7am, it hung over the bustle of a city just waking up for a Monday like the most perfect of jewels. Almost as if it had been set just so over the skyline, a divine reminder that the rat race, it’s real, but so is startling beauty, and sometimes it just takes looking up to see it.
Middle school has brought with it leaving at still-dark-thirty. We head west from our neighborhood, through to the other side of downtown, to get through the car rider line on time. The adjustment has not been easy, but I’ll tell you, if it means we get to follow that moon on clear mornings such as these…well, maybe it’ll be okay.
I dropped her off, waved at the kind and smiling man who ushers the car riders into the school gym every morning 7 and 7:30, blew kisses to the girl and headed back east. And as I rode the ramp back up to the interstate, back through downtown, there was the sun. A giant flaming ball, just rising over the river, coming up from behind the Abraham Lincoln Bridge with confidence and grace, its light working its way across the still water, the waterfront hotels and walkways, and through the streets of our business district, all of it still pearly and soft, like it was trying to ease us all into Monday without too much of a jolt.
And my lips formed the words I once heard a very wise and very faithful old pastor pray, when I was young and headstrong and thought I knew everything, “Every morning, God, is an expression of your mercy, and every evening a benediction of your grace.”
The words stuck with me–at first because I thought they were pretty. And I am a sucker for pretty words. But as I said…I knew very little then. I know now how much more the words are than pretty.
Every morning is an expression of Your mercy. Every evening is a benediction of Your grace.
These words stick with me now as both desperate prayer and joyful thanksgiving. A prayer that I will err on the side of love when at all possible for me to do so, because life is so precious and so sacred and so short. Joyful thanksgiving for the grace that helps me do so.
I fall short of the “erring on the side of love,” most days. I fail to be thankful many days. But this is the mark I work towards, and working towards it is the only way I know how to be anymore. Because…life…sometimes it sucks.
Yesterday was a very full and very exhausting and in some ways a very hard day. I had on my mind people I love who are hurting deeply and feeling so very broken. I did not handle my girl’s sass and attitude with the sort of humor and patience I usually can, and it ended in frustration for us both. (All is well and forgiven, but such parenting moments leave sore spots in our hearts, right, moms and dads?) I listened to the stories of church members who are carrying such heavy things…and my heart ached for the ways we often lean first toward destruction, the tearing down of one another as opposed to edification, the building up.
It just felt heavy–like I’d left my whole heart on that day’s stage of my existence.
That moon this morning gathered my heart back up. Reminded me of that old pastor’s words that every single day is a gift, God’s mercy surrounding us in ways we don’t even know, relentlessly pursuing us, drawing us in, refusing to let us go, even, and perhaps especially, when all seems lost.
Know this, friends–whatever you’ve been taught, whatever you’ve been shown to the contrary–there is nothing, nothing, that can separate you from God’s love for you. Nothing that can take away God’s mercy. Nothing that can stand between you and God’s grace.
Not a single thing. Not a single situation. Not a single person. No matter who you are. No matter where you’ve been. No matter what life has handed you.
Nothing can separate you from God’s love for you. Always, it is with you. As the sun rises each morning and the moon rises each night.
And I don’t know what you do with such a stubborn, insistent, unconditional love except be grateful.
And do your level best to live your life and have your being in ways that express it.