“Grace Upon Grace” by Rev. Dr. Nadine Burton

The year 2020 will be one that we will never forget! It is one for the history books, our journal, our memory, and for many of us, the sea of forgetfulness. I do not have to remind us that it was a year of grief and suffering, death and disease, loneliness and isolation, changes upon changes. But depending on your perspective, 2020 can also be a year where we connected, stayed close together, and patiently waited for our virtual healing to come. We patiently waited to hear the news of loved ones and friend’s recovery. And we cried when some did not make it. We made decisions that distanced us from each other, but we found new ways to be church, new ways to serve, and new ways to hold on to God. We patiently waited for our souls to receive the light of God’s love in our hearts at Christmas.

The Word became flesh and lived among us. In the message version, it states that “Jesus moved into the neighborhood” (John 1:14). God in the person of Jesus Christ is with us and we receive grace upon grace from the fulness of who he is. I believe that grace upon grace kept us through the Pandemic, and grace upon grace kept our minds focused when we wanted to give up. It was grace upon grace that turned our attention to wait on the Lord.

In 2021, it is grace that will keep on paving the way for us to be healed, and to embrace the freedom to love as Christ loved, with willing minds and hearts to serve. It won’t be the same grace, or a 2020 grace, because each new day bring new possibilities. “This I recall to my mind; therefore, I have hope. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed. They are new every morning” (Lamen. 3:22-23).

It is one thing to have grace, but to have grace on top of grace is something to consider. As Andy Stanley shared in his book, “there is no ‘but’ after God’s grace.” God’s grace stands alone. Grace upon grace is a double portion of God’s steadfast love, that endures forever.

For the Great River, it is Grace upon Grace, in 2021! I pray that we will stay connected, seek out new ways to share the gospel message, and get excited about some thing, some one, some mission, or some project that allows us to see God’s grace. I pray that we will seek to break open our Mission – to “Reach, Teach, and Transform Lives Through Christ’s love, “as we hold the reigns of God’s presence among us and extend a double portion of the very grace that has been given to us in 2021!

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