Remember that old poem about the qualities of children born on various days of the week?
It started with Monday’s child, the one fair of face, and continued through the week. Some fortunate kids landed on days that proclaimed them loving and giving (Friday). Others, like myself, fell disappointingly on days that demand they work hard for a living (Saturday).
As a child, it all seemed very strange and arbitrary. But for some reason, no matter how many times I tried to remember the words of the poem, I couldn’t recall the supposed destiny of any of those day of the week kids. Except one — Tuesday’s child.
“Tuesday’s child is full of grace.”
I knew I didn’t want to be full of woe (like Wednesday’s child) or have far to go (like Thursday’s child). I had no idea what a “bonny and blithe” Sunday’s child would be like.
No, I wanted to be the one full of grace. And grace girl, I wanted her to be my friend.
It is with the words of this antiquated poem running through my mind and with grace lessons falling around me like powdered sugar on pancakes that I have decided to devote the next several Tuesdays in this space to grace.
Though I’ve heard, read and spoken the word thousands of times, I find myself wanting to understand this great gift of grace. What is true grace? Am I living it? Am I loving empowered by it? What does it look like, feel like, taste like?
I know from the book of James that every good gift comes from above. So to understand grace lived, it seems I must know the Grace that begins it all.
Looking through Bible dictionaries and commentaries for a definition, I see that grace from God to us can be seen as the lavishing of love, favor and holy assistance. It is a gift that we do not deserve, an empowering, a peace, without end.
The blood shed by Jesus on the cross for our sin, to bring us who are alien again into relationship, is the supreme act of grace. Literal saving from death by death. But as immense as this gift, it does not stop here.
It spills over into fullness of life in the person who trusts in this All Mighty, All Loving God who conquered death and rose. For from the cross, grace both once and for all, and continually, flows.
Last week I stood in my bedroom, hanging shirts and putting them in the closet. I felt unaccomplished, sad, irritated, weary, lonely and disconnected. Like a lost child. I thought about grabbing some chocolate. Making a phone call. Laying down on my bed.
At some times, not bad things at all, but I stopped. By his gentle grace prompting, I recognized that I wanted so badly to fill temporarily the need which is always with me. I felt empty and wanted filling.
I grabbed my cell phone from the bed and turned on praise music. Paused, closed my eyes and called out, “Jesus, I need your grace.”
And my parched heart — it filled by the hand of the One who possesses the Living Water, the One who knows the very places that need satisfying.
He came. Grace came. I wept.
Along with my church and small group, I spent Sunday with the thirsty woman at the well, from John 4. I’ve always loved her. She seeks water that will quench her mouth thirst, but Jesus offers her the Water that Quenches Soul Thirst. As my pastor elaborated, vision clouded by sin, focused on the temporal, not understanding the gift being offered, she is slow to comprehend what following and worshiping Jesus means.
When Jesus asks her for a drink at the well, she is shocked at the scandalous request. Men and women, Jews and Samaritans are not to associate.
Verse 10 reads: “Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
I fall asleep last night, wake up this morning and know there is something about this living water that flows grace. I dream of pouring, filling, tears, water gushing from cross.
And then this morning I read in my Bible notes that the Greek word here for God’s gift is used only in this place in the Gospel and emphasizes God’s grace through Jesus, the life that he poured out and pours out freely.
The gift of God is Jesus. The gift of Jesus is his grace. Grace is the gift of Living Water. Continual and life-changing filling, poured out by the Giver. In his grace, he offers to quench the most empty places of vulnerability, sorrow, separation, disappointment. His Grace is the unending supply, the comforting, strengthening, lavish gift for the one willing to be filled.
We open our mouths to sip water that will quench flesh thirst. So too we must open our hearts to receive Water that Quenches, Satisfies and Fills the dry, hurting, needing places of our souls.
This is grace.
His is the grace that begins it all. The holy offer of the living gift of grace.
When we hold hands out cupped, open mouths wide to receive the living water, we are all Tuesday’s children. We are the ones who fill with grace because we recognize parched need and know the One who brings the pitcher and fills the cup. Over and over again.
Filled by Grace, to overflowing.
Next Tuesday…More about the grace that overflows from one who drinks deep and indeed lives in the pool of the grace gift.
“Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:14