I just tucked one gift into bed and sat cuddling and doting on and melting into my other, smaller gift as she nursed and dozed off in my arms. On Good Friday. Gifts and Grace and Mercy and Good Friday all slow-dancing around in my head. I call them my gifts. All the time. Robby often will answer when I ask: What are you, sweet boy? - "Your gift! And Olive is your gift. And Daddy is your gift."
The best gifts ever.
And so rocking my gift, after coming home from a Good Friday service where we thought about, observed and sat in the reality that this is the somber day of remembrance....I was overwhelmed with a major fact in my life: Not only was I shown extreme, obnoxious mercy, but then I was given an extra helping of honest to goodness grace.
Mercy and then Grace. What's the difference?
I've been taught so many things by my co-leader, my dear friend, my neighbor, Steve - he must be cited for this one. He once illustrated Mercy and Grace to me:
"Suppose Robby disobeyed you in a major way. Like big time. So big - spank worthy big. You have 3 choices in the matter: Give him what he deserves - his punishment. Judgement. The spank or time out or what have you.
OR sit him down and tell him you are going to extend Mercy - which means zero punishment. The removal of the punishment that is very deserved.
OR sit him down and tell him you are going to extend Grace - which means that not only are you going to give him Mercy (no punishment) but you are going to give him an ice-cream cone.(What??) Grace: the ice-cream cone where there should have been punishment."
It's Good Friday. I'm holding gifts. I deserve punishment for the state of my rebellion and sin and offense toward a completely perfect, holy God (even the smallest offense that is not perfection is rebellion and sin). And God not only chooses mercy - but has given me ice cream.
A life of so much beauty. So much joy. Places where heart-ache was mended. Sadness turned to dancing. Ashes to beauty. Despair to hope.
And it all centers on the "Good" of Good Friday. The horrible, beautiful cross of Jesus. Where all the wrath against sin that a holy, righteous, perfect God has against all that is not - was heaped upon his own, special Son. And the Father and His Son were separated during that moment - because that is what sin does. Separates. Divides. Breaks fellowship. Communication ceases.
I'm silenced. The "Good" is my hope. Hope that comes in 2 more days.