GodReflection: Breathing Grace
Although I grew up in a church of grace I didn’t realize it at the time. Our church didn’t have to be in a rage with an internal battle to keep the members busy.
I’m sure I was naïve but didn’t know until later in life that church wars were quite common.
At the same time we didn’t hear too much about grace. That was a Baptist word and since we were the “true church” we were afraid to say the word let alone make it a big deal in our “plan of salvation”.
Although, I’m sure God loved and claimed us, I see now we were far from a perfect church and carried with us our own share of traditional and doctrinal barnacles. So how was our little congregation able to live with each other under the umbrella of grace?
Here is what I think.
I suspect the answer can be traced to two elders who served together in our church from its early formation for over a half century.
Although, most likely they wouldn’t have called it grace that is exactly what they lived. They breathed grace over the entire congregation.
Dr. Owen Puckett was a servant doctor. As the county health doctor he administered over 70,000 immunizations and 2,300 diphtheria antitoxin shots. The Spanish-speaking residents lovingly referred to him as “Dr. Vacuna”, the Spanish word for vaccination.
Dr. Puckett’s bible was worn and his personality was kind. He lived grace before us all and offered it to all.
Theron Jay was a fellow elder. God gifted Theron with an Irish tenor voice and a love for song. When Theron led the church in song he drew out heart music from everyone present.
He had hundreds of songs at the tip of his tongue. My guess is he sang throughout his day as he hummed, whistled, and even belted out the words when he was alone.
Like Dr. Puckett, Theron knew his bible. However, I believe he learned grace from Jesus through song lyrics passed down through the ages. He too lived grace before all and extended it to others.
At college I began to understand the actions of my mentor elders.
Two university professors, Gerald Kendrick and K.C. Moser, took me on a journey through Scripture through the lens of grace.
Grace was the identity word I had missed.
What I learned from those two professors is that grace is more than a doctrine.
For in fact the good news of the entire Scripture is the story of God’s breath of grace. God’s story is that His cleansing breath of grace transforms mere humans into dispensers of the Holy.
It has taken most of my life to learn to walk in the grace of God set before me by my mentor elders and college professors.
I have come to believe that to live grace in my daily walk I must breathe deeply from its source.
Over the next few post I want to reflect upon—and see if I can mine from Scripture—ways to become more adept at breathing grace as I move along the trail assign to me.
Let’s see what we can discover together.
Dr. Gary J. Sorrells
A GodReflection on To Live and to Breathe Grace.