Lenten Reflection Seven – Unpredictable Grace
The Myth of Control
We’re programmed to believe we can control the circumstances of our life. Often we can, to good effect. But then each of us will reach a point where our best plans and intentions fall apart. Such inevitable moments either shatter us or can transform us. Richard Rohr explains it this way:
We must stumble and fall, I am sorry to say. We must be out of the driver’s seat for a while, or we will never learn how to give up control to the Real Guide. It is the necessary pattern. Until we are led to the limits of our present game plan and find it to be insufficient, we will not search out or find our real Source.
Those are the times when grace is not a doctrine, but a lived experience.
Question: When has your life become more than you could plan for?
A Guest at the Table
For those of privilege and power, hospitality is far easier to offer than to receive. We remain in control through our resources and what we offer and we learn nothing of grace. When we are hosted by others in ways unexpected, present in our vulnerability, we are the recipients of unmerited favor. In the story of Abraham and Sarah, the drama comes when the tables are turned, and they are now hosted. The famous Orthodox icon of this scene by Rublev places the eucharistic cup at the center, with the presence of Trinitarian love welcoming the guests. A pilgrimage reveals hospitality as embodied grace, intersecting our lives in moments unpredicted, underserved, and life-giving. That’s how we walk.
Exercise: Write and share what you were taught, learned, or think about the idea of grace. Then reflect and share about those moments in life when you have experienced grace. Is there a difference, and what have you learned?