Friday, March 24, 2017

Last Check-in: Walking Down Grace Street

Since my last check-in, a lot has changed. I am employed. Big step. And it just happened that the lease on my car was up after three years. So, we went with only one care for a couple of weeks. The street my new parish, St. Paul's, is on Grace Street, and my wife's office is on Franklin, one street apart and about 11 blocks down. So I would park our minivan at my wife's office so I did not have to deal with a van in a tight parking garage, and walked down Grace Street.

Grace street is funny. Near my wife's office, it is one-way, heading west. Near my church it is two-way, for about 5 blocks. This is a recent change in the last few years, recent for Richmond, anyway. And walking this stretch, it got me to thinking and pondering, especially about the last seven months.

You see, Grace, at times is a one-way street, and at other times, it is a two-way street. When we first start in our faith, we are giving this wonderful serendipity of Grace. Nothing we have done "deserves" it, and that is what Grace is. A gift, a free gift, with no strings attached, as Martin Bell so adequately put it. And for many, there faith stays there. Fat, happy babies, who enjoy the wonderful gift of faith. But repeatedly we are called in Scripture to mature and grow, and share the gift we have been given. This is no Zero Sum Game. The more Grace we share, the more there is.

I have been a minister for a long time. This fall will be 30 years that I have been a paid minister.30 years, wow. Hard to fathom. And in much of that time, I have experienced Grace as a two-way street. I receive. I give. Two ways. I extend from the bounty of that with which I have been blessed.

I think for me, that is what has been the hardest part of the last seven months. For this season, Grace has become (mostly) a one-way street again. I have had to trust and rely on the gracious gifts of friends and colleagues. I am American enough that this has been difficult. I want to pull myself up by my bootstraps and fix the problem. But the problem is not mine, nor was it mine to fix. I simply had to wait, and trust. Time is what it is, and patience is a virtue. And patience is brought about by learning to live in the "in-between." For me, looking back, I had to learn how to live more fully into God's Grace. I had to let Grace become one-way again.

We all go through cycles and seasons. We all go through times when we feed, and times when we must be fed. Learning to trust and be cared for is something that I had to allow to happen, and hopefully as I maneuver back into Grace being a two-way street again, I will be a better minister, a better man, and heck, a better human for it all.

For all of you who extended Grace in this in-between time, Thank you! For St. Thomas' and Susan who were so generous in my departure, thank you. For St. David's who kept me in the saddle for 6 months of Sundays, you saved me. For St. Paul's who extended a job for the foreseeable future, these are exciting days I appreciate. For the God of Grace who began this good work and has always been faithful to complete, all honor and glory and praise. Thank you for always keeping Grace Street open. Amen.


  1. As always, wonderful words. Thank you for giving me these words to ponder Grace in my life.

  2. Love to you and people (like Susan and Frank) who have Graced my life, these past few years... God bless your new situation..., your friend in Christ, Margaret Arnette Woody


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Blessings, Rock