Thursday, February 26, 2015

Melting Grace

It snowed today.  Not much, but it did snow.  It's been 17 years since I've seen any winter weather more than a dusting.  I was happy but, let me tell you, the boy was ecstatic.  His little Alabama heart thought we had moved UP NORTH.

He had us all snow-creamed, eskimo-cloaked and scaling this frozen tundra well before 8 am this morning- good thing too because this slushy snow is melting fast.

I love the perfectness of snow.  The pure, clean stillness of it.  The glittering silence. That close-your-eyes-and-take-a-deep-breath smell.  It clears the air and shushes the chaos in my yard and in my mind.

The snow in my backyard covers all the worn things new again; dry grass dug raw by my dog is powdered and soothed.  Our broken fence and its fallen birdhouse are made quaint.  That shameful pile of bricks I knocked over in the driveway last fall...redeemed into a gleaming miniature Mt. Everest.

Can I just stay in this moment?

Do you know why winter air smells so clean?  Because frigid temperatures slow down the molecules that make up all the smells we smell.  Dirt and grass and slug trails, all those smells that we don't even register, are blanketed down by the cold so we can fill our senses with fresh nothingness.

I like to think of God's grace as being like the snow, covering all my rough and broken places, capping shame with glory.  It restores order to the chaos and sets things right.

When God created the heavens and the earth, he saw that each part was good.  Not because he sat for endless hours polishing and buffing and covering them with clean, white snow, but because, by his very nature, God defines good.  And when Jesus sits at God's right hand and whispers our names in his ear, God sees us as good too, flaws and all.

I walked outside this afternoon for one last breath of that winter air, and the sound of water overwhelmed me.  Water dripped from trees and trickled from the eaves.  It poured from the downspouts and pooled on the rocks below.  It sloshed under my feet, wetting my shoes, and I realized then that my desire for picture perfect grace has sold this grace very, very short.

Unlike the snow, this grace doesn't disappear in a day.  Or paint a study in perfection for us to stand back and watch.  And it would never, ever fill us up with nothing.  Instead, this grace is melting into living water all around us.  It seeps into broken places and soaks through rough patches.  It funnels deep within and nourishes new growth in dark hollows.  It moves and flows, swirling in and under and all around.  It changes us, washes us all clean, and because of this grace, HIS grace, God sees us through the lens of his son Jesus, and calls us good.

But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us,
 not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.  Titus 3:4-7