- The Rev. Van Gardner
Full of Grace
In the 19th Century in Japan there was a Buddhist master named Nan-in. He received a famous college professor who wanted to inquire about Zen Buddhism. Nan-in served tea. He poured the tea into the cup and kept pouring until it overflowed. When the professor could restrain himself no longer he said,"wait, stop, it is overfull, no more will go in." Nan-in said, "you are this cup. You are full of your own ideas, beliefs and conjectures. I cannot teach you anything unless you first empty your cup."
The pharisee in today's gospel is full of himself. He boasts of his own importance and piety. He has no need of other people. He has no need of God.
The Tax collector makes no claims for himself. He only asks for the mercy and forgiveness of God. He "knows his need of God."
When we empty ourselves of our false pride and overstuffed egos. We discover that our lives are not empty at all but rather full. Full to overflowing with God's abundant Grace.
GRACE is the free, unmerited, unlimited love of God for all creation. Our lives are full of Grace. Everything of real value is Grace. The air we breathe, the life that lives in us. It is all Grace. Minds to think, hearts to love, hands to serve. It is all gift. It is all Grace.
When we recognize that our lives are overflowing with Grace there is only one possible response, GRATITUDE. A deep sense Gratitude changes us inside. Anger, resentment, jealousy, shrivel the soul and diminish the spirit. But a deep sense of gratitude for all God's gifts, expands the soul and enriches the spirit.
Gratitude for God's abundant Grace frees us to be GENEROUS with our lives. We are created in the image and likeness of an all loving, all generous God. And so, when are generous with ourselves and our resources we are as close as we will ever be to the person God created us to be.
Our goal is to create community based on Grace, Gratitude and Generosity that is always open to the Spirit of God.