Today we are talking about the second part of Grace, as Methodism’s founder, John Wesley, taught. Justifying Grace is the experience of being forgiven and adopted into God’s family.
Prevenient Grace definition: "It is divine grace that precedes human decision." God starts showing love to us before we are ever aware of our connection to God. We could also call it "preceding grace" because it precedes anything we have ever done to "earn" grace, salvation, or liberation.
Just like God’s hug for us through one of our community angels, God’s love for us in these rituals offers us an opportunity to experience God through all of our senses. We see God in the elements, we hear God in the words of institution and the sounds of pouring water and tearing bread, we taste and smell God in the taking of communion and feel God’s kiss upon our skin in the waters of baptism.
We are to, everyday, every moment if we can, show to the world a new way of being. One where love is more powerful than drones or protocols. Where compassion holds more sway than polls or pontificating. Where a hug holds more hope than a catchy campaign slogan. And where the grace of the Holy One is more compelling than the propaganda of the Empire.
"Going on to perfection" doesn't mean that we don't make mistakes, it means we are learning to love perfectly as God loves us. It means that when we make mistakes we apologize, seek forgiveness, and try to make up for our errors. It means that we learn to allow God to love others through us even, and especially, when we are having a hard time being in the same room, or - let's be honest - on the same planet, as the other person.