Trade Denied/Grace Realized

This week several teams in the NFL traded players.  One trade, between the Detroit Lions and the Philadelphia Eagles, would have swapped running back Jerome Harrison for running back Ronnie Brown.  But the trade did not happen. Both players were required to undergo a physical before the trade was made official; upon seeing the results of Harrison’s physical, the trade was voided.  According to ESPN, the physical revealed a brain tumor.  If this proposed trade had not happened, it is impossible to say when or if Harrison’s tumor would have ever been discovered.  Fortunately it is in the very early stages, and he hopes to make a full recovery.

Have you ever accidentally tripped upon grace? Ever had one of those “ah-ha moments” when the universe seemed to tumble together in the right order?  I have no idea if Mr Harrison is a spiritual/religious guy or not, but I suspect upon hearing the news of his physical he saw life in a different light.  And I imagine there was more than a little bit of gratitude, perspective, and celebration.

Each of us stands on one side of a door. We do not know what is on the other side, but somehow, someway, we are beckoned to grasp the knob, turn it, open the door, and step inside. There are a number of scriptures that speak to the metaphor of the door: one of my favorites comes from Revelation 3:20: Jesus said, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. Open the door, and I will come in to you.” There is a famous painting in St Paul’s Cathedral in London by William Holden Hunt called “Light of the World.” Jesus stands there, knocking, and we wait with him to see if the person opens it.  The thing is: if you look closely at the painting, there is no handle on the outside of the door. It can only be opened from the inside. Jesus calls each of us and waits: knocking, listening, hoping.

Join us this Sunday for Commitment Sunday. We’ll ask the Lord to guide us through the door to another year full of opportunities to minister to others. We’ll seek faith strong enough to step through the open door to newer, deeper life in Jesus Christ. We’ll challenge one another to grow further in love, and we’ll hold one another accountable through it. Because every now and then we are accidentally surprised by grace. And in those moments we want to be mindful, and thankful, for all of God’s gifts.