Monday, February 20, 2012

How may we experience grace in everyday life?

Assistant Minister, Rev. Angela Herrera of First Unitarian, Albuquerque shares her sermon "Grace" dated 22 January 2012 in which she refers to an article, "The Marriage of Grace and Sweat," by Thomas Moore in Parabola magazine (2002 vol. 27: No. 3 p.6-9). Herrera describes Moore's depiction of Hephaestus fashioning Achilles' shield in the Iliad by Homer. Herrera recounts the story:
"Carefully, precisely, [Hephaestus] combines silver, bronze, gold, and tin. Then he takes it even further, turning the shield into a work of art. He embosses on it the earth, water, and sky; the heavens with constellations, sun, and moon; and then — having crafted the universe upon the shield—he adds to it depictions of “cities, marriages, and arguments; stories of war, farming, and idyllic pleasures.” He encircles these scenes and the cosmos with a great river. Only then is the shield done. By his side as he works is his wife, Charis, whose name means grace. This scene, suggests Moore, is about the marriage of grace and skill, the inseparability of beauty and hard work. It is about 'the place of grace in ordinary life.'"
She shares her own responses:
"I’m moved by the beauty of Hephaestus’s work, and the way he placed that shield in the context of everything else that happens in life, big and small, from a particular marriage to the constellations. If beauty is one manifestation of grace, and I agree that it is, then I think that is because beauty is closely connected with the sacred, with what is meaningful. Grace is what happens when we discover, or tune into, or are unexpectedly overcome by, what is sacred, meaningful, and beautiful."
Read her seven-page discussion of grace to consider its presence in your own life.