I was out for a Sunday afternoon walk. As I approached an intersection, the pedestrian “Walk” signal started counting down the seconds available for crossing. Halfway across the street, I met a woman walking in the my direction. I wished her, “good afternoon.” She smiled in response, but then said, “Eighteen seconds? Where’s the grace?"
What a great question! I hadn’t given it much thought and had just taken it for granted that the people who program traffic signals and control traffic around town must have conducted several studies, hired consultants, and figured out that eighteen seconds was exactly the right amount of time for a pedestrian to occupy the crosswalk on a public roadway. After all, the roadway is designed for vehicles, right? Pedestrians are just tolerated. Cross from one side to the other in eighteen seconds or risk getting run over by a vehicle.
Now that my consciousness has been raised by another pedestrian, I can’t cross the street without hearing her question, “Where’s the grace?” Maybe I’ll suggest to the Mayor that reprogramming the lights with a longer grace period would be consistent with the objective of reinforcing the hospitality of the city.
Meanwhile, back at the Church, it occurs to me that it would be a good discipline for a Christian to ask this question daily about other areas of life. Where’s the grace? We could all benefit from a lot more of it.
Where’s the grace – in my life, in the life of my community of faith, in my family, in my neighborhood, in political campaigns, in the actions of my government, in my workplace, in my classroom, in my relationship with my God?
Because by our Baptism we are children of God by grace and adoption, we are supposed to know about grace and spread it around. We are offered a healthy diet of grace through the Word of God and the Holy Eucharist. Those are provisions God has supplied so that we will never be starved for grace. We receive the means of grace so that we can become a means of grace in the world around us. When we become conscious of a lack of grace, we have an opportunity to change that situation. When we experience a moment of grace, we have an opportunity to celebrate it and tell others about it. Think about that! This is a world-changing opportunity we have here.
The grace of Jesus Christ be with you all.
I'll see you in Church!
The Very Reverend Ronald D. Pogue
St. Andrew’s Cathedral