Thursday, April 9, 2015

More Grace - introducing Kristin Hahn

I was surprised as I took Kristin's book down off of my book shelf to discover her book, In Search of Grace, was more about her journey throughout the nation, meeting with and getting to know various religious groups across our continent  But then I cannot imagine any serious religious gathering that does not invoke God's Grace in their teachings.  As a matter of fact the first I ever heard the word Grace mentioned in a spiritual sense was when my Japanese friend. Hireo, encouraged me to join him as he would be discussing his future as a Samurai warrior with one of the higher ranking Lords.  He was rather fascinated to see a USAF uniform in a Temple that was designed to deny admittance to any person other that a credentialed Samurai warrior.  However, as it turned out, Hireo had his ranking bestowed upon him by one of the most highly regarded of the Samurai war lords.

I was soon being questioned about my knowledge of our Bible and I was ashamed to admit that about the only verse I knew was John 3:16 and I had just heard of the in a recent sermon in our base chapel.

"Aha, you would not make a good warrior in our nation,"  Observing his highly painted face that appeared to be in a permanent scowl, I almost said, "Sir, you are right about that."  He chuckled at the difficulty I was experiencing trying to be friendly and certainly not to embarrass my friend.

"Go home," he chuckled, "you will be saved by God's grace." 

With that, he summoned two of his female entourage and advised me, "They will teach you more about our faith and serve, excellent tea and cookies."  I could not see into their faces as they bore more paint it seemed than their leader.  Being inside that temple was probably the most fascinating experience in my lifetime.  Finally, one of the women spoke, "Oh, too bad, you do not know Grace."

Hireo would later explain that my visit had made the older man's day.  Come to find out, he was a graduate of a famous law school in our country and was - in fact, baptized in an Episcopal church in the late 20's.  And Hireo wanted to know more about this Grace as I had never mentioned it when we had attempted to have conversations about religion. 

And so I asked our Chaplain and he let me know, he believed we are "saved" by our good works.

I don't know where Kristin learned about Grace or what it should have meant to her,  In her epilogue she explains, "...Religion is something that "binds".  I had for some time assumed that if something were profound - something divine, or of God, was meant to be the central part of my life, it would find its way and bind itself to me.  Now, I understand that Grace does not necessarily come to those who wait; the binding must be proactive.  One cannot just exercise faith in pronounced moments of fear, anxiety, depression or despair, its very meaning compels us to to make it a part of our everyday life, an ongoing process of choosing what goes on inside of us.  To have faith outside of routine physical expression, discipline and sacrifice - whether in the form of prayer, meditation, work, worship, charity, song, fast or food - is like taking pictures without film in your camera, there is no tangible or enduring reflection of what we fleetingly observe."

Whew!  Upon reading these words, I immediately prayed for her, for her salvation and the gift of Grace that most of us cannot really explain.  That is why I am reviewing the many authors I have as friends on my book shelves.  I know what I know.  I have to ask, do you, when it comes to Grace?

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