Over Labor Day weekend, I took the opportunity to get away and be renewed with a short trip to Cincinnati, Ohio. The time away was great, as I slept well and ate too much. I created the space to visit the Newport Aquarium, as well as the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. Additionally, I decided to do something different, and participated in an indoor skydiving experience. While this is not an advertisement for the company or the experience, what I would like to share is my reinforced learning about grace.
Before I began the process, I had to go over all the rules and listen to all of the safety precautions, and get the appropriate gear on for the experience. As a natural leader, I thought, how hard can it be to fly in an enclosure carried by gushes of wind? Well, it was totally hard, and I should have listened a little more closely to the instructions. So this is when grace was presented and learned by a patient guide named Thomas. As the wind was swirling at the door’s entrance (and I was contemplating every life decision), Thomas reminded me of the rules, possessed a less-anxious presence, and assured me he would be with me every second, then the wind whirled us. Thomas was so gracious, as my natural instincts kicked in and I began to fight against the wind (what was I thinking). He gently whispered these simple words: I AM WITH YOU—CALM DOWN—LOOK UP—ENJOY THE EXPERIENCE. Each time, he extended grace and reminded me, I AM WITH YOU—CALM DOWN—LOOK UP—ENJOY THE EXPERIENCE. While the pictures may not show it, I did listen and enjoyed every minute of the experience.
|It was from this experience that I began pondering its application to us, as we continue to journey through these ever-evolving times of a global pandemic, a growing social crisis, hurricanes, and wild fires; how can we become more intentional regarding our stewardship of one another? How can we become more intentional about seeing all people, as people (not democrat, republican, independent, libertarian, progressive, or conservative)? How can we look into the eyes of people (the windows of their souls), to see each other’s hurts, pains, fears, and excitements…and truly ask; How is it with your soul? How can we take notice to the transitions of life among us that are not pronounced, but very noticeable…and extend a helping hand? How can we as faithful followers of Jesus Christ, be extravagant in our grace to all people, because we have been recipients of this amazing grace? How can we just remind ourselves, as faithful followers of Jesus Christ that our fellow humans, are not enemies despite our human conditions.
I hope, over the next several weeks specifically, we are reminded of God’s Grace but also display and extend God’s Grace to all. May this excerpt from 2 Corinthians 9:8 be our guide, encouragement, and our prayer: “God has the power to provide you with more than enough of every kind of grace. That way, you will have everything you need always and in everything to provide more than enough for every kind of good work.”- 2 Corinthians 9:8 (CEB)
How can we intentionally be those who embody Grace and serves as a Guide for Grace in our everyday living and being…especially during times like these?
Abundant Grace and Many Blessings…
Dr. Aleze M. Fulbright
Conference Superintendent serving Central and West Districts