Grace at Church

Jesus says, “Come to me, you who are tired and burdened and I will refresh you.” Matthew 11:28

Dear People of St. David’s,

I pray that you and yours are well and give thanks for this community coming together in a special way on Saturday, for the 171st consecutive St. David’s Country Fair. We’ve been working on this all year and especially the last couple of weeks. Thanks to our leaders and all who have given of themselves to get ready. May God bless this important day with good fellowship, eager purchasers, good weather, and the grace that comes at church. I look forward to seeing you there.

Over the past few years and particularly on my mini-Sabbatical in July, I’ve been pondering church and worship and the many changes and pivots we’ve made to continue to be a worshiping community. There have been a lot of adjustments, but one aspect hasn’t changed: whether we are here at St. David’s or worshiping God online, the grace of God is unwavering.

I had an opportunity to attend church a couple of times this summer without my regular responsibilities – just some time to be still, to listen, and to worship God. Sure, I’m a little bit of a church “rat” and enjoy taking part in leading worship or preaching. During these times, I experienced what so many of you experience on a more regular basis when you make the effort to come to church or to watch church on Sundays. I experienced grace.

There’s a grace in church that touches our hearts and souls like no place else. It feels like coming home. Better still, it feels like coming into a presence and home that is different and more loving than any other home we know. There’s the grace of being welcomed in through an open door. There’s a sense of grace about just being alive, since so little is expected of us in God’s house, as compared to the rest of our lives. In church, there’s a persistent patter of words that remind us of God’s grace all through the service. It comes to us in silence. It comes to us in the beauty of the surroundings. It comes to us in the faces of other people worshiping God as we are. Grace comes to us in readings and prayers, in sermons (most times), and in sharing Holy Communion. We get renewed by God’s grace in church on Sunday morning; renewal to re-enter regular life.

At church we are drawn closer to the grace of God simply because we’ve answered Jesus’ call to come to Him. When we come to Him in church, God can refresh us, bind up our wounds and hurts, heal our broken hearts, forgive us, redirect our path, and give us hope for the life that is before us. All these gifts of grace can come to us in many other places and times in our lives, but the one place we can be sure we will catch a taste of God’s grace, is in church on Sunday. “Come,” Jesus beckons, “and I will refresh you.”

Grace to you and Peace,
The Rev. W. Frank Allen