Tuesday, November 25, 2008


A peasant may believe as much
As a great clerk, and reach the highest stature.
Thus dost thou make proud knowledge bend and crouch
While grace fills up uneven nature.

This poem, part of a larger work, called Faith by George Herbert struck me this Thanksgiving season.

I met a man who was “homeless” and looked it. His clothes were clean but still the smell of homelessness was around his unkempt hair and scraggly beard. He had the nose of an alcoholic and his weathered hands wrapped around a cup of coffee as if it would keep his whole frail body warm. We sat across each other in a charity dining hall, I was there to serve and he was there to be served and we filled our rolls quietly.

The din of a hundred homeless having lunch and conversation filled the hall as I removed his plate for him and threw it away. I came back with the coffee pot and offered it to him. His hands opened like saloon doors to allow me to fill his cup again.

“Is there anything else I can get for you?” I asked as I withdrew the coffee pot.

His simple response set me back on my heals, “Grace” was all he said and he took another sip. I searched his eyes over the brim of his cup and saw both a tear and a smile.

Grace is an amazing thing. It is something we all need, from the greatest clerk or judge, to the lowest peasant; homeless and smelly. It is something given to all in equal measure to all of us. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you do, where you are or where you do it; grace is there.

Are you thankful that grace doesn’t depend on your station in life?

Are you thankful that grace doesn’t depend on how much money you have or how popular you are?

Are you thankful that grace doesn’t depend on how good (or bad) you are?
Are you thankful that “grace fills up uneven nature”?

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