2 Corinthians 6:1-13 (NRSV)
Chapter 6As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. Verse 2For he says, "At an acceptable time I have listened to you, and on a day of salvation I have helped you." See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation! Verse 3We are putting no obstacle in anyone's way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, Verse 4but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, Verse 5beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; Verse 6by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, Verse 7truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; Verse 8in honor and dishonor, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; Verse 9as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and seewe are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; Verse 10as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.
Verse 11We have spoken frankly to you Corinthians; our heart is wide open to you. Verse 12There is no restriction in our affections, but only in yours. Verse 13In returnI speak as to childrenopen wide your hearts also.
While having that sailing time away from “normal life” and my parish ministry responsibilities, I began to create a kind of pressure on myself that I should have a magnificent and life changing spiritual experience. When a month or so into the trip it just wasn’t happening as I imagined, I said something to Jim about this. In great wisdom he said, “Maybe this time is just a gift.”
“Don’t accept the grace of God in vain,” Paul says. Receive the unmerited gift of God’s love and acceptance as opportunity. Just embrace it, celebrate it, wallow in it, experience God’s love flowing into you, through you, in spite of you. And let it awaken you to all the goodness God wants for you.
And then that “spiritual experience” began as I let go of my need to create something and began to see God “opening wide my heart” to whatever God was doing. To my shock and annoyance God did not need my efforts to create God’s gift to me.
God quiet our raging self-ness. Quiet us and open wide our hearts enough to receive your waiting, flowing grace. Amen.