The Rector’s Lookout

Mother Elisabeth

Jul 10, 2021

The Grace of God’s Daily Mercies

Christ Church: I am overjoyed to be with you! I relish every opportunity to talk with you and hear from you. I hope to write to you weekly in the newsletter as a way to connect with you beyond what is possible through Sunday morning worship services.

In my homily on Sunday, July 4, I briefly explored the Apostle Paul’s story of a “thorn in [his] flesh” that God would not remove. Paul instead received reassurance from God that “power is made perfect in weakness,” and God’s grace is sufficient for every circumstance.

How, exactly, do God’s power and grace manifest themselves through our weaknesses and sufferings? And, how are we strong when we are weak? As will always be the case, I welcome you to share your perspective on these questions with me (and let me know if it’s okay to share them – even anonymously – with the whole parish in a later newsletter). In my own life, here are some ways I experience God’s power and grace through weakness and suffering and am, in turn, strengthened:

• I tend to turn toward God in prayer, meditation, music, tears, journaling – all of which bring me into more direct contact with God. When I am in more direct contact with God, my senses become more attuned to God-with-me. I begin to notice God in the small, daily mercies: the beauty of hummingbirds and flowers, the undergirding nourishment of breath, the tangy sweetness of a mango, an unexpected phone call from a friend.
• If I share my suffering with others, they often become a hem around me like a circle of trees and give me their “shade:” their intercessory prayers, words of encouragement, at times help like meals, rides, or other practical needs. “El que a buen árbol se arrima, buena sombra le acobija.” My friends’ gifts bind us together with cords of love and empathy that make us each stronger than when we forge through life independently.

By definition, weakness and suffering are undesirable. We have good reason to ask God to remove these thorns from our flesh. But however long they persist, God’s power and grace will endure alongside them.

With love,
Mother Elisabeth