The original synchroblog group disbanded last month, but one of the regular participants picked it up without missing a beat, so this month's topic is grace! K.W. Leslie's our host; he suggests:
Of course there are all sorts of directions you can go with this. You can bring up grace in the November holidays. (In the United States that'd be Veterans Day and Thanksgiving.) You can bring up grace in the Christian's relationship with God, with family, with fellow Christians, with non-Christians, with work, with whatever.
You can avoid talking about yourself altogether, by getting all theological. And we'll let you! 'Cause grace.
A blog pal gifted me with grace as my star word for 2015, so what better way than this synchroblog to sum up a year of moving house, meeting new people, leaving Previous City behind (notice the order of these events?), other random shifts and transitions, a year trying to focus on my star word grace, and the very soon to be conclusion of another liturgical year of grace.
Especially for Christians in the traditions of the Reformation with our emphasis on the Apostle Paul's theology, grace is a huge, truly overarching, theological concept. In Paul's world, grace and favor was a secular commonplace—particularly in the patron-client relationship. In this twenty-first century world where commercial transactions, payments, debts, and reciprocity rule, almost everyone has difficulty accepting a gift, simply basking in that occasional reality of receiving anything unmerited, unearned, not paid for—and not paid back. It's tough for most of us to contextualize a theology of grace because we have so little parallel experience in this culture, in this economy.
For many people, the month of November in the USA means a special offering of daily blog posts or Facebook updates about thankfulness. I didn't attempt formal daily online thanks this year, yet I need to express my thankfulness that I've come this far by faith and by grace!
I'd intended to blog more details about this past year of my life along with my rich grace-filled experiences during this past liturgical year, which, of course, has been a major part "of my life." I'm extremely tired on emotional and psychological levels, and writing here on my more formal theology blog makes me hesitate to say much, though in the past I've blogged a fair amount of self-revelation.
Short summary: the Sunday morning hour that's always good no matter what has kept sustaining me. No matter what, no matter with whom, no matter where, every week it re-minds and re-immerses me in my own history with God and with the people of God. I'm thank-filled and excited about beginning the church's new year of grace less than three weeks from now; what's not to love about the hope and renewal Advent brings amidst the darkest days of the year? In addition to every Sunday Word and Sacrament, relocating to a different city has given me near-boundless hope for a free and full future.
Again this year I welcome the gift of shorter days, longer nights, the all-around slowing down they bring. It's almost time to start counting the days until the winter solstice, and then by grace, the amazement of longer days, shorter nights, new life, and another summer.
Grace, mercy, and hope to you!