Last Sunday I found myself referring several times to ‘a new year of grace’. It is a classic phrase, and though it slipped off my tongue easily, it is very full. As I pondered this, I thought that ‘grace’ may be a great theme to explore during these weeks of Epiphany. And as this week unfolded, with all its turbulence and uncertainty, I needed the assurance of ‘grace’ all the more.
As Christians we focus our understanding of grace upon what we know of God in Jesus Christ. Grace is God loving the unlovable, God coming to us as one of us in Christ, extending healing and leading us in the ways of life through Christ, embracing us with a love that will not let us go by the death and resurrection of Christ. And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace (John 1).
As I was pondering my words for this coming Sunday, I was introduced to this painting by the Thai artist Sawai Chinnawong. Sawai was introduced to art when he saw some men painting a local Buddhist temple. When he became a Christian in his 20’s, he heard a lecture about how effective art could be in communicating the Gospel. ‘I believe Jesus Christ is present in every culture, and I have chosen to celebrate his presence in our lives through Thai traditional cultural forms.’ https://www.omsc.org/sawai-chinnawong
In this painting you might identify a palm branch, some grapes and a cup, some die, a crown of thorns around a chi rho, and so much more … But two things pop out for me. One is the great heart of God’s love in the top left corner. The other is the exuberance of line and colour across the canvas, highlighting the joy of knowing the grace of God in Christ through every season and circumstance of the human lot.
We may not be able to gather together in the sanctuary this Sunday, but we will begin this week of grace together in worship! The service will be available online just after 10:15 a.m. at https://youtu.be/qeUzTCPVb10
Recordings of previous services can be found at our Youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzEy41z3sqfRm8X_lLfKGUA