Words matter – what they mean, how we use them, the feelings they convey, the way they shape our experience of life. For centuries Christians have had a “vocabulary of faith” which was a collection of words and ideas that was generally understood by society at large and by believers in particular.
Over time that changed. Some words became very secularized; for example, in sports we hear about players making sacrifices for their team, but originally “sacrifice” meant “to make holy.” And then some Christian groups have taken faith words and defined them in ways that most Episcopalians would have trouble resonating with.
Add to all of that the perceived split between “public life” and “private faith” – and we have lost confidence in our ability to know and use the vocabulary of our Christian lives. That can make it difficult for us to think and reason clearly about our faith, and to express to others what it is we believe and why we behave as we do.
As we have been living through this time of health crisis, we know that whatever is on the other side of this will be different than what we started with. We will be different, and we will face some new challenges and realities.
It will be good for us to remember and renew and become confident once again in the words of our faith and our expression of the Christian life as we understand it in our Episcopal and Anglican tradition. To help us with this I’ll be sharing a word on most days, with a short definition or explanation of what it means, Christianly-speaking. I hope you find this encourages you to think about the words you say, the words you pray, and the way God is shaping, forming, and equipping you to do God’s work in the world.
Grace means gift – God’s gift to us of love and blessing that we neither earn nor deserve. God offers us grace before we are even aware that we are in need of it; and God already loves us fully, before we even do anything to respond to him.
We often think of someone being graceful or moving with a quality of grace, like a dancer. That image conveys a sense of fluidity, ease, motion, even beauty. When we are on the receiving end of God’s grace we gain that sense of moving through life with greater ease and dignity because we know that we are loved to our very depths.