This morning I have combined Lectio Divina with my Centering Prayer practice. This first reading of this morning’s lectionary is describing the harmonious life among the early believers after Jesus’ resurrection. It is from the Book of Acts. “They were of one heart and one soul and they had all things in common…nor was there anyone among them who lacked…they distributed to each as anyone had need.” But the verse that struck me, in the middle of this, was: “And great grace was upon them all.”
While meditating on this phrase, several thoughts came to the front of my mind:
- the stupid (sexist and class-ist) thinking on the part of my boss from many decades ago, which resulted in irreparable damage to an important data base;
- the struggle I am having trying to get to a place of forgiving and (shudder) loving my ex-husband; etc.
What did this have to do with “great grace” being upon them?
The easiest of the memories was about my boss. He often spoke and acted from a narrow, patriarchal, and defensive (read: fearful) mindset. At this distance of 15 years, I can shake it off and look on his image with compassion; he was and may still be a victim of his environment and upbringing.
The issue of my ex-husband is more difficult to hold this morning. He used me, primarily for my income, and mistreated me throughout our relationship, and even admitted to it at the end, stating proudly to a doctor, that it had become a game.
However, I mistreated myself as well, because it wasn’t until I caught him sexually inappropriate with our 2-yr-old daughter that I objected and put a stop to the whole thing.
“And great grace was upon them all.”
Upon them. Not between them; not from one to another; not from God to an individual. But “upon them” like a blanket and “upon them all.”
It is only because I was in my meditative state under the blanket of grace this morning, with the recollections of my boss, my ex-husband, my former self, and even our daughter…that I was able to look on us all with compassion. Grace was upon me and them. Great grace was upon us all.
My ex-husband was and likely is still a sick person. My daughter and I are working out our healing from those days. Grace, being an eternal and infinite force is capable of healing backwards, forwards, up and down. Breathing, while still under the blanket of grace, I was able to look on him with compassion. The forgiveness is going to have to come from God; I’m not quite there, yet.
As for the early believers, I think this verse “and great grace was upon them all” explains how it was possible for them to get along and share all they had…and that is the only way we would be able to do that, today.
May great grace be upon us all.