Heathdale flower 11th June 2020

Nothing More than More Grace!

Is there anything we need more than grace?

Heathdale flower

My mum recently entered a nursing home. Every time I visit or chat to her on the phone, she concludes by singing “I love you and don’t you forget it!"

After my most recent visit it dawned on me that this is her current saying and she has always had a saying for every situation! As I write, I can recall her using sayings like “a stitch in time saves nine” when she wanted me to do things efficiently. When one of us at home tidied up after ourselves unexpectedly, she would say “pleasant surprise for tomorrow”. If I responded in a less than grateful tone her response would be “just remember you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone”. There is a lot of wisdom in my mum’s sayings!

While reading Psalm 42, that last saying came to mind. I wonder if it was composed out a sense of loss or a deep appreciation for God’s presence and love.

“As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all the day long, "Where is your God?" These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival." Psalm 42:1-3 (ESV)

I love this Psalm as it reminds me that God provides enough grace to meet our every need. He provides sufficient grace to forgive every sin as well as provide the grace for our sufferings, too. People who have a deep maturity to their faith are constantly aware of this grace and therefore seem to have the ability to hold this thought in the front of their mind. They not only remember what they have in the present, they also long to know God’s grace in all aspects of their daily walk. Fletcher Madeley was such a person.

Fletcher Madeley was a great friend of John Wesley. Wesley thought so highly of Madeley, he designated him as the successor to lead the Methodist movement. As life would have it, Fletcher Madeley passed away before Wesley, so he could not take up this role. Madeley once made an important public statement on an issue that was being exercised in the minds of the people of the day. By making this public statement he was seen as rendering great service and public support to the Government. The then Lord Chancellor dispatched an official to ask him if there was anything his country could do for him as he had served his country. ‘How kind,’ was Madeley’s response to the official when he delivered the message. ‘But all I want is nothing more than more grace’.
Imagine the official returning to the Lord Chancellor and reporting: ‘He doesn’t want anything. There’s nothing that appeals to him. He only wants more grace!’

This is one of the characteristics of those who have a deep and mature faith. They look at the rewards on earth in the light of heaven. They know deep within, that the most valuable thing one can possess on this earth is God’s grace and they seek it enthusiastically. They are people who remember this and keep it in the front of their mind. They appreciate that it is not enough to know that grace is there or keep it constantly in mind; they also want it more than anything else.

As a community that desires to seek how we can honour and glorify our Lord, my prayer is that individually and collectively as a community, we continue to seek, know and share in God’s grace. As members of this vibrant community may we all — students, staff and families — know this grace that flows from God, in us and then out through us. As this takes place those we encounter are drawn to God and they too can experience God’s grace.