The oddness of his grace

Jul 17th, 2007 | By | Category: Spirituality

Grace is a funny thing.

My daughter was going to Bray this afternoon with a friend; they were to meet other young people with whom they had attended an arts course last week.

Climbing into the car, my daughter’s friend said, “So and so said she couldn’t come, she says she only has two Euro.  I told her to come anyway”.

I wondered about the girl with only two Euro.  To have attended the arts course last week, she must have come from a middle class background – it was not cheap.  If she had only two Euro, it would seem probable that she had been given her allowance for the week or the month and had spent it all.  Her parents had obviously decided that there would be no more cash, for this week at least.

I wondered about her parents.  Maybe this situation arose every week, maybe they were doing their best to get her to be responsible in her use of money, maybe they were trying to follow best parenting practice by not reinforcing bad behaviours.  There were, I’m sure, very good reasons why she had only two Euro.

But, I thought, if my daughter was going to meet friends and had no money left, even if I had told her time and again to be responsible, I would still find money for her.  Perhaps I am a very bad parent.

Driving back from Bray, I think I understood for just a moment what God’s grace means.  No matter how much we do wrong, no matter how much we waste, no matter what mess we make of things, he still stands there waiting to be generous to us.  No matter how ungrateful we are, he still stands there with open arms, anxious that we know he still loves us.

God runs completely contrary to the Protestant work ethic I live by; he ignores all my ideas about who deserves what; he seems a very unfair God sometimes, but, then, he is God and I am not.

When my daughter arrived home and said about the fairground rides on which the group had ridden, I asked about the two Euro girl.  “Oh, we all lent her money so she could join in.”

I didn’t ask if she had any expectation that the loan would be repaid.

Grace is a funny thing.

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