1.jpgMarcrina Widerkehr writes in her book, A Tree Full of Angels,

            Moving through the heart of every person in the universe

            is a silent cry that yearns for understanding.  The silent cry

            is an ache for God, searching to be named.  It is immensely deep.


Question: When did you awaken to God’s longing for you?  Was it last year, 10 years ago, last week or this morning…or are you still waiting?


Paul Johannes Tillich

Of all the gifts we United Methodist’s offer the world, none is more essential than the opportunity to invite persons to awaken to God’s longing for them through the person of Jesus Christ. What seems like a lifetime ago, I read Paul Tillich’s sermon, You are Accepted, as a seminary student. It is a message that is as fresh today as it was when Tillich wrote it. The sermon is about divine grace. Tillich writes that “sometimes at that moment a wave of light breaks into our darkness, and it is as though a voice were saying ‘You are accepted,’ accepted by that which is greater than you, and the name of which you do not know.”

We sing “Amazing Grace” with the familiarity of an old friend. However, like an old friend whom we have known for long stretches of time, we tend to miss the details. Perhaps this week you might choose to sit down in a quiet place and listen for the graceful sounds around you and in so doing, hear God say His word of acceptance to you.

“I once was lost but now am found.” Most of us have been lost at some time or another in some wilderness of our own making. When we stop long enough to listen, we discover that Jesus is not as far away as we imagined, reaching out His hand to us, accepting us, forgiving us, calling us to a deeper walk with Him.

We are people of Grace. May there be enough grace for you and for you encounter on the Way.

Serving through Grace with you,
Ephesians 2:1-10

11 Comments on “Grace”

  1. Lorna Jones says:

    I am sad that I will be out of town on October 7th when you are at my church, First United Methodist Church in Cookeville. Good news is that I get to help with brunch on Oct. 8th! By the way, Robert and Bet Delcuze of Bay St. Louis, MS said to tell you hello and that they miss you! They are good friends we met during a 2 year stay in Mississippi. We attended Main Street United Methodist Church in Bay St. Louis and met them there.

  2. Peggi Billman says:

    As we focus on programs, seminars and events for the upcoming church year, I pray that we would not place those (or any agenda) above God’s Grace as the primary message. His mercies are new every morning! Thank you for sharing, Bishop

  3. Janet Earls says:

    During my morning walk/run I look for Glory Sightings – anything that looks or sounds like only God could have mastered. EVERY morning there is something. Today a beautiful moon still up as the sun rose both big and bright. God’s blessings every day. Thanks for the message.

  4. James Ellington says:

    It is a wonderful day when we see people brought to God by his grace and then see them realize how great God really is.

  5. First I hope this not a duplicate post since I am having trouble with my WordPress account.

    I think it is amazing that you have ask the question about God’s longing for me. I have just finished Francis Chan’s Forgotten God. He kept asking if I was truly following the leading of the Holy Spirit or if I was wanting him to follow me. It has caused me to do some serious thinking about my priorities and my relationship with my Savior.

    In answer to your question…when I have and opportunity to remind some one that God always walks with us through the good and bad times. God weeps with us and rejoices with too…I remember God’s longing for me. When I see Go d wooing someone into a relationship with him and that person responds… I remember God’s longing for me. When I witness a Church responding to be more than they already are… I remember God’s longing for me.

    Thanks for your words tonight and you have given me an opening to my series on God’s amazing grace steering Sunday.

    Peace, Steve Webb

    • wtmcalilly says:

      Thanks, Steve.
      This is my deepest prayer–that I remember God is seeking me even as I am seeking him.(See Hound of Heaven poem)

      Peace this day.

  6. Stephen Webb says:

    Thank you Bishop for words tonight. I have just finished Francis Chan’s “Forgotten God”. I kept hearing the question “am I following the Holy Spirit’s lead or am I requiring him to follow me.” It has caused me to look at my relationship with my Savior and if I want him to look like me or if I am open to looking like him.
    I think it is amazing you have asked the question about my awakening to God’s longing for me. When I see God wooing someone into a relationship or a closer relationship with him I am reminded of God’s longing for me. When I have the opportunity to remind someone that God will walk with them through whatever life brings to them I reminded as well. When I see my charge struggle to me than they already are I am reminded.
    You have also given me a lead in to my series on God’s Amazing grace starting next Sunday.
    Blessings to you and yours, Steve Webb