BY GOD’S HAND, WE ALL ARE FED
READ: Psalm 147
“Our Lord is great, all-powerful, with a wisdom that stretches beyond our human understanding. The Lord provides for the poor, and the Lord humbles the wicked. Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving, play the harp as praise for our God. Our Lord veils the sky with clouds, and provides the earth with rain, makes the grass to grow upon the hillsides and provides plants for people to use. The Lord gives food for the cattle and also to the young ravens when they call.“ – Psalm 147:5-9
We fed the birds today, and a few of the bolder ones came and ate seed from our hands. And as they ate, they sang … a song I took to be a song to the Lord, a thanksgiving song, as if to say …”by God’s hand, we all are fed“.
Grace is the love that we receive from God freely, unconditionally, not because of our own merit, but because of the nature of God. Grace is love freely given, a love bestowed by a Loving Life upon and into the life of one loved.
Through the centuries, the Church has tried to name the various ways in which God’s grace is given and experienced. I reckon it is the manner by which our thinking does find its way to a clear and deeper understanding. The names given to the workings of grace are varied according to the thinking of various communities of faith. For myself, I have presently settled on these names: beckoning grace is the Divine Love that awakens our human awareness to His Divine Presence, encountering grace is the Divine Love that enables our human need to be satisfied by God’s mercy, transforming grace is the Divine Love that changes us from our former selves into our Christ-like selves, glorifying grace is the Divine Love that enables our living to radiate with the Presence of God, and throughout these and also beyond these, providing or providential grace, the Divine Love that provides for the care for all of God’s Creation. To be sure, there exist other ways of categorizing the workings of grace, this is merely one, this is merely mine.
Providential grace … is found in God providing for the birds of the air … sometimes delivered in the bounty in the fields and sometimes delivered in the hands of compassionate human souls. By God’s hand we all are fed … even when God uses the hands that come in human form. We are part of God’s providential grace … participants in its work. If we are of God, then we share in God’s ministry of providence. And, in diverse ways, a share of all the workings of God’s grace, beckoning, encountering, transforming, glorifying and providing, has been placed in the compassionate living of Christian souls and Christian communities.
Beckoning grace … can be found in our reaching out to others with warm-hearted witness and open-armed welcome. Encountering grace … can be found in our attitude of eager forgiveness, an eager willingness to adopt others into the family of God. Transforming grace … can be found in our sharing of confession and encouragement, in our school of loving where we learn together an even more perfect love. Glorifying grace … can be found in our ministry of over-flowing charity, pouring into the lives of others the love we have received from God. Providing grace … can be found in the sharing of our blessings, the sharing of a meal, he sharing of a coat, the sharing of our prosperity, the sharing in the work of caring for this Providential Creation … that provides for us all.
And so, we who have known the grace of God share that grace with others. We care for each other; we care for the poor among us; we even care for the sparrows when the fields are covered with snow.
Brother Anthony of the Cross