Thursday, December 15, 2011


I recently wrote the following in relation to a service closure at my workplace.  Thought I'd share

Great Spirit,

Who resides in the land, the stars and the people,

We give thanks for this building which has provided the shelter and the location of our Family Centre.

We give thanks for all its spaces

Play spaces

Work spaces

Talking spaces

Food spaces

Eating spaces

Group spaces

Administration spaces

Outdoor spaces

Parking spaces

For all that has been inspiring and challenging, resolved and unresolved, growing and nurturing in this place we give thanks.

May the hospitality of this place be a welcome to new tenants and new service users alike in the days, months and years to come.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

What is...Grace?

Recently a seminarian friend of mine emailed from Rome requesting my take on what grace is for a 'Theology of Grace' unit he is currently undertaking.  His lecturer asked the students to seek a Catholic and non-Catholic perspective.  I think I just qualified for the non-Catholic gig!  Anyway I really appreciated the request and found it valuable to revisit how I understand this old concept of Grace.  I responded in two ways the first you'll notice is more spontaneous and experiential and the second more analytic and academic in tone.  This reminded me how we can respond to spiritual notions from different internal spaces e.g. head and heart...both have value in putting language to the spiritual life.

Grace is…

a word that points to relationship with the Presence that innervates every living and non-living thing.

knowing that the reality of Jesus and God is not a fantasy.

finding one’s home in the Sacred present moment

knowing you are loved despite your failings and self-centredness

knowing you can love despite your failings and self-centredness

awareness that there is life beyond death

a sense of connection to the Australian bush

sitting by a seaside on granite rock and feeling the presence of the divine in the waves and the wind

the blessing of children who sleep safely

the embrace of a child

the chuckle of an infant

good food and drink

the deep silence in one’s heart

the deep silence in the land that captures the heart

knowing that enough is enough

true solitude


the deep joy to be found in simple things that surprise by their ordinariness

finding God’s presence in unexpected places

knowing that even hard feelings can be a call from God back to the centre

experiencing the world through touch, smell, taste, sight and sound

friendships that endure

intimacy that endures

discovering the gift of compassion for oneself and the whole world

discovering that Jesus and God are Compassion and Silence and in reality no separation is possible

discovering that prayer and Scripture can lead to silence

looking on the world with fresh eyes

both grief and laughter


Grace may be conceived of as God’s initiative in relating to and loving human persons…

With the following characteristics:

• Salvific and liberating - saving and freeing us from our limited selves. Expands our consciousness to renew or remember relationship with the divine at the ground of all being and existence…the classic lifting out of the mire (e.g. Psalm 40)

• Mystical – mysterious, amazing, beyond comprehension like the great hymn hints at. Grace leads to communion/union with God or is in fact an experience of communion/union.

• Embodied/Incarnated – experienced in the body and the world

• Freely available and unmediated – Anyone at any moment can experience grace – ie receive the sacrament of the present moment – (e.g. Francis de Sales and Quaker writers)

• Christological – in the sense that the receptivity to grace is “built into” every human person. This receptivity is a gift of the Risen Christ who resides in every human heart. Quakers call this ‘That of God’.

Thanks for having a read....I'll leave you with that lovely question from Quaker George Fox:  And what canst thou say....about Grace?

PS Picture by my daughter.