Today was definitely a long walk. Although it was only just over 20kms it felt like a great deal more. This was because we were walking mainly on roads, a very unforgiving surface. In addition, Trevor had a problem with his walking sneakers and at the end of the day had to throw them away. Thankfully he had the foresight to bring a spare pair, so all should be well tomorrow.
Today was a day of grace. Not solely the graciousness of those who have hosted us over this Thanksgiving weekend, but literally of Grace. Grace is 3 years old and joined us for the first part of the walk from French Village to Smithtown, just over 8 kms. Although she was a little shy, she seemed to enjoy herself. Walking that distance was hard, so her Dad, Sean, carried her for much of the way on his shoulders. Another act of grace for Grace.
One of the highlights of the walk for me was when we passed a field of goats, sheep and, off in the distance, alpacas. Little Grace decided to feed the goats with some grass. One of them came over and gently took the food from her hand. She seemed thrilled.
What is grace? It is to benefit from an action by another even though we do not deserve to. The example Christians know best is the work of God in Christ. Jesus’ death on the cross is the gateway to life for all those who will receive it. We do not merit this grace; it is given to us.
Perhaps this is best illustrated by Jesus in the parable of the unmerciful servant. A servant is forgiven a great debt by his master, yet when he comes across another servant who owes him a little, the forgiven servant demands payment and has this fellow and family thrown in jail. This leads other servants to report these things to the master and the first servant is also imprisoned.
Jesus’ point here is that if we receive mercy through an act of grace, we too should be gracious and show mercy. Grace flows from God through Christ to us, we are then to transmit that grace to others through our graciousness. All too easily I can be like the first servant, demanding satisfaction despite what I have been given.