If you look up the word "means" in a dictionary, you'd find that there are words like "conduit," "conductor," and "channel" that are used to define it. So the question is, "What is a conduit, conductor, or channel through which the grace of God in conveyed?"
The answer to this question is so phenomenally large that we can never talk about all of this in one message or teaching. However, we can look at some of the examples.
One on the ways of thinking about "means of grace" is a symbolic action to recognize God's continual participation in our lives in order to keep our relationship with God alive. There is a story of an old farmer who had been married for a very long time. One day, his wife asked him, "Do you love me?" The old farmer, chewing his tobacco, thought for what seemed to her to be a very long time. He then spit the tobacco juice from his mouth and said, "I told you I loved you when we got married and if I ever change my mind I will let you know."
I don't know how that would work for you and your spouse or significant other but I can tell you that it would not work in my house.
Interestingly enough, you and I need to be reassured that we are loved by God. We come to church, sing hymns, prayer prayers, read scripture and listen to sermons in ways of needing to be reassured that we are loved by God. These are ways we keep our relationship with God alive. They are the "means of grace."
It may surprise you to hear me say this but I believe that God needs to be reassured that we love Him. I know that He is an all-knowing God and knows my thoughts before I think them. But just like I know that my wife loves me, I still need to hear the words and so it is with God. God needs to be reassured that we love God.
That's why we turn to sacraments like Baptism and Communion. They express Christ's message and the message of the church: you are wanted, loved, and cared for. But outside of church, God's grace can be expressed with a kind deed, a kind word, or some form of radical hospitality expressed from one person to another. They are the "means of grace," the conduit, the conductor, the channel by which love flows freely back and forth between us and God.
May we look for the many ways God's grace is expressed in our world daily.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Rev. Bob Ball is the Senior Pastor of Epworth United Methodist Church in Toledo. Epworth is an exciting, growing, and dynamic church with a heart for missions and a passion to grow in its faith in Christ and service to the world. If you are looking for a church where people are friendly and welcoming, we invite you to try Epworth.
Epworth offers three Sunday morning services: at 8:30 a.m., our blended worship service brings together a traditional worship style and a contemporary flair. Our traditional worship service begins at 9:45 a.m., followed by the contemporary worship service at 11. We are located at the corner of Valleyview and Central Avenue in Toledo, across from Wildwood Metropark.
Epworth United Methodist Church
3077 Valleyview Drive
Toledo, OH 43615-2237
Telephone : 419-531-4236
FAX : 419-531-7487