Theologian Karl Barth once wrote:
Grace always evokes the answer of gratitude. Grace and gratitude belong together like heaven and earth. Grace evokes gratitude like the voice of an echo. Gratitude follows grace like thunder follows lightning.
That has certainly been my experience this week as I have been on retreat at the Oregon coast. I happened to choose exactly the right week to come away for a few days of prayer and reflection undergirding my work of worship planning and sermon preparation for the next six months! The weather has been truly amazing. The sun has shined every single day, and today there is not even a breath of wind!
Because there has been much work to do, I have remained fairly disciplined in this time. However, about every three hours the view of blue waters and white waves just outside my window has colluded with the eager expectancy of my dog to bring me outside onto the beach for another walk.
As always I have been surprised and delighted by the gifts of grace I have encountered along the shore. The immensity of the water brings to my mind the abundance of God’s powerful love. And the rocks and little bits of shell seem to adorn the sand as if placed intentionally by a master artist. It is all beauty wherever Maggie and I turn.
So I walk and I pray and I am overcome by an awareness of grace – that freely given, unmerited and unlimited love of God. And I discover again that Barth was right, as gratitude wells up to echo the grace and to lead me back inside to plan some more, to create more opportunities for us all together to see the grace and to share the gratitude.