06302021 – Mark 5. 21-43

 

I do not believe that I have ever mentioned Greek Mythology – homiletically.

 

It just does not seem to fit.  That is, until today.

 

I want to talk about “GRACE” or the Greek word, Charis.

 

When I think of “grace” I think of generosity, kindness, politeness, favor, goodwill, (no, not the resale store) but rather, respect, thoughtfulness, and consideration of the other.

 

The word “grace” has strongly been associated with the “gifts of the spirit.”

How cool is that?

 

So, when we talk about grace, we are talking about graciousness…kindness… and “life.”  The good life.  The blessed life.  The favored life.  The God-given life.

 

In Greek Mythology, CHARIS was one of the CHARITES or the “GRACES” – the goddesses of charm, beauty, nature, human creativity, goodwill, and fertility.

 

As far as the Biblical record goes, Jesus never uses the word “charis” and instead, shows it or embodies it constantly in his daily encounters with individuals.

 

In the Hebrew writings, we hear about man’s “favor” to man.  And that it is ALWAYS a blessing.

 

So, God bestowed his favor on individuals like:  Noah, Joseph, Abraham, Moses, David, Daniel, Ruth, Naomi, and Esther, it was an ever-growing-list of men and women.

 

Our God is “gracious” and slow to anger, as the psalmist writes…

 

It is “good to be good” to one another.  Therefore, WE TOO, are to be gracious!

 

God is also gracious to his creation, US – included!  And therefore, we read about God showering his favor on individuals.

 

I think of the angel Gabriel being sent to Mary, with his opening words, of “Greetings, “favored one.”

Grace is ALWAYS a blessing.

Grace is ALWAYS “freely given.”

Grace blind sides you.

Grace comes out of nowhere.

 

The “cool thing” about “GRACE” – is that Grace always comes “as a gift.”  Grace is to be “treasured and appreciated.”

 

Grace is unjustified, unwarranted, undeserving, undue, unjust, unexpected, unforeseen, and unanticipated.

 

You do not see Grace coming.

Grace comes and steals your breath away.  You have been blessed in that moment of time…and it is sacred.

 

Grace is always unmerited.

Grace cannot be earned.

Grace is totally unconditional.

 

Grace comes to us and surprises us.

Grace shocks us and overwhelms us!

 

Gracious favor…is well, gracious favor.

 

It is a good thing.  An incredibly good thing…

 

Mark awakens us to “the abundant healing grace of God” in Jesus.

 

In Jesus, there is hope, there is life and there is community for all.   No one is excluded.  All are welcomed.

 

Meanwhile, we tend to let the Gospel out in small little dribbles, and we are stingy with our grace, just as we are with our love…

 

We are stingy with WHAT God has so lavishly and freely given to us.

 

We worry about who deserves our help, who deserves our food, our time, our money, and our attention.   Are they really worth it?  Are they worthy?

We carefully calculate the conditions under which we will “stoop to forgive someone.”

 

When the scriptures teach the EXACT OPPOSITE.

 

WAS Jairus’ daughter worthy of breath and life?  WAS the woman with the “blood issue” worthy of being made well and whole?

 

Why would anyone even ASK or RAISE the question.  And yet, WE DO.  We most certainly do.

 

Ours is never to question.

Ours is to be gracious, forgiving, loving, and caring.

Ours is to be freely bestowing and lavishing good things on as many people as we meet.

 

“Gracious favor” is always freely given and should never be held back. 

 

It is bestowed on another, simply because IT CAN BE.

 

To bestow GRACE is to stand close to the side of God. 

 

Stand near him and tremble.

 

Amen.