Holy Practice #7—Wholeness by Kaze Gadway
Bishop Steven Charleston (Choctaw) God’s grace is energy. It is not a thing once given, as if it were a reward but a force of transformation. Faith is how we draw grace toward us. Hope is how we focus its power. Love is how we release it into life.”
The thing about grace is that it is so total.
We mess up. We realize that being broken hurts. It keeps us from looking honestly at ourselves and whatever is given to us. We want to be a part of that which gives us energy, that releases us from a prison of our own choosing and that makes us whole. And it is not earned. Nor do we deserve it. It is a gift from our Creator that is given whenever we ask. Everytime. Without “I told you so,” or “pay back” or “pay up front.”
I ask the Native youth their experiences of grace, not sure what I am going to get.
“It was my birthday celebration,” says one youth. “When the priest made the sign of the cross on my forehead, I felt like my past was not going to hold me back. I felt a new person.”
One youth tells this story, “I was sitting on my roof trying to get my anger to go away when I saw clouds drifting toward me. I kept waiting for the clouds to reach me. It was like I couldn’t leave until the clouds were overhead. Then I realized that I wanted to be a different person, not filled with all this stuff. And like that, I was clear and filled with something like hope or happiness or something. I didn’t even notice if the clouds had moved over me or not.”
Another youth says, “Before I was baptized, I used to cross my arms when we knelt for communion. The priest always seems to take special time to bless me and I felt like something important was going down and I was okay. At my baptism, it was a relief to feel like I was totally starting like a new person.”
“I like to kneel,” contributes a teen. “I feel like I am part of God’s family when I pray. I don’t have to worry about how much I have messed up.”
“This is interesting,” one of the young adults says. “Grace comes to me when I burn the sage. I alternate between saying “God have mercy,” and “Thank you Creator.” It is like a release to know that every day is a new day.”
There are many ways grace happens to us. Each time and in the weirdest way this gift happens.
So how is it a holy practice?
We put ourselves into situations where we can look inside ourselves. We open ourselves to change. We ask for forgiveness. We rejoin the family of God. We accept God’s gift. We are returned to wholeness.
It is total.