The Amazing Grace of the Hidden Word
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But, in those times when the light does break through, grace is what lends strength and courage to our lives. It is the quality we experience in people we know who are able to live through difficult, if not even threatening, times in their lives with a certain centeredness and steadiness, strength and courage that shines beyond whatever tribulation has befallen them. Even in this sense, however, grace is not guaranteed. Annie Dillard once observed that holiness is indeed a force, but one that sometimes is not strong enough, and one that sometimes can be resisted.
It is a matter of consciousness. Grace does not change the world; it changes us. It changes our consciousness, our awareness of ourselves in relation to events and other people; it changes how we are, our being in the world.
Too often, we expect things to change in order to feel better about ourselves and our situations. But the difficult learning is that it is we who need to change, and when we know that, and can be open to it, then grace can enter our lives. Grace is available, at least in theory, all the time, all around us.
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But, much of the time, we simply forget — no fault, no blame, we just forget. So it gives me great comfort to know that Rumi was forgetful, too. In fact, he said:. And such also is Grace — an undeserved, unearned blessing — a blessing that is always flowing toward us, always becoming, never standing still. Such grace manifests itself, incarnates itself, in varying ways: from the surprisingly pleasant, the exquisitely charming, the deeply compassionate, the unexpectedly kind, the simply beautiful, the profoundly enchanting, the captivating heart-stopping eye-opening moment of understanding, the aha moment of creativity — and to all the things and moments we might not readily associate with grace, yet there it is.
So many things rely upon our understanding and interpretation of them, upon our perception and reception of them. Someone could wag their finger in our face and, with irritation in their voice, tell us to be more careful, to ask more questions, to be certain we know exactly what is being said and meant. But grace cannot enter such strident attempts at perfection and control. Mysteries are not to be solved, says Rumi. Grace enters our lives through simple trusting and through a willingness to get it wrong. It may even enter most knowingly when we do get it wrong.
Elie Wiesel relates the story of a young Hasid who was the disciple of the great Maggid of Mezeritch. He wanted to marry the daughter of a particularly fierce man, who made him choose between his daughter and the Maggid.
The young man chose the daughter and promised not to return to Mezeritch. Eventually, however, he could not resist, and when he returned home afterwards, his angry father-in-law marched him over to see the local rabbi for judgment. The rabbi agreed that the young man had broken his promise and should give his wife a divorce at once.
Overnight the young man was on the street where, inconsolable, he refused all nourishment and soon fell sick and died. I have come for those who are not right. Grace enters our lives, generally, where and when we least expect it. Like failure, or humor, or misunderstanding, or even aging rock stars.
And I never, never, never thought I would hear someone like Jagger sing that. It is in itself a moment of grace. I more expect something like that from someone like Jesus, who taught:. The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. But let ourselves be ever-so slightly enchanted, drifting off on the similarities, the echoes from one wisdom saying to another, then grace can not only enter, but can guide.
And it is the guidance of grace that we so sorely need these days. We are in danger of losing it, which would be truly disastrous.
by John Newton
In these times of great polarization, times when we live with an administration that values the free market availability of ARs over the safety of our children and one another, times when bigotry and selfishness are encouraged, I am reminded of a quotation by one of my favorite novelists, Tom Robbins.
I find myself nodding in agreement at the first part, and furrowing my brow at the second.
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But be that as it may, this is the quotation:. To the extent that this world surrenders its richness and diversity, it surrenders its poetry. To the extent that it relinquishes its capacity to surprise, it relinquishes its [enchantment]. To the extent that it loses its ability to tolerate ridiculous and even dangerous exceptions, it loses its grace.
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Book will be sent in robust, secure packaging to ensure it reaches you securely. Seller Inventory I Seller Inventory ING Linda Lee. Publisher: Lulu. This specific ISBN edition is currently not available. View all copies of this ISBN edition:. About the Author : Linda Lee, author of "The Amazing Grace of the Hidden Word", has researched the scriptures in their original languages for the last thirteen years.
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