Grace Upon Grace

          Two weeks ago I attended a clergy meeting at Flying Joe’s coffee shop in Levis Commons.  I was the first in our group to arrive and I went to the counter to order a cup-of-Joe.  When I handed money to the employee, she smiled and said “This one was paid by the person before you.”  I looked around and didn’t recognize anyone in the shop.  Looking back at her confused, she explained, “Someone got a coffee to go then asked to pay for the next person.”

          You may have heard of this type of activity before.  As a matter of fact there was a movie several years ago that emphasized ‘paying it forward.’  Feeling thankful and gracious, I continued the process by leaving enough to cover another coffee plus tip.

          In John 1:16 we read, “From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.”  When I received the gift of coffee at Flying Joe’s, I felt the desire to pay it forward (not out of obligation, but from a heart of generosity).  What had been done for me I wanted to do for others.  When we feel the power of love, our hearts want to turn around and give it away.  When we experience forgiveness and reconciliation, freed spirits and minds joyfully and generously pour out the same to others.

          The grace of God is contagious.  It magnifies and multiplies in a powerful movement that displays the good in humanity.  Because no matter how much bad news we hear, humanity was made in the image of God, an image that includes compassion for one another.  Grace upon grace through the Holy Spirit increases exponentially without ever running dry.

          Today we will witness this grace at work in the baptism of Carys where God will claim her as his own in the presence of the Church, the Body of Christ.  And we will all experience that grace through the body and blood of Jesus during the Lord’s Supper.  May we, as the Body of Christ, continue to be sources of grace that builds upon grace.  Amen.