Sally and her friend and colleague, Brian, have been working feverishly to complete a legal brief. They come to a stopping point and decide to grab a quick bite to eat before they resume their work. Brian, her friend, looks rather dispirited. “Is there something wrong, Brian, or are you just overworked like the rest of us?”
“I’m not sure, Sally. It’s just that sometimes I feel so overextended and I ask myself what the meaning of it all is. I mean, look at what we are breaking our backs over. We will either win or lose in court next week and in either case, the world will go on. Sometimes I wonder what the purpose of it all is?”
Sally responds, “Last week I was feeling quite overwhelmed by all the demands in my life. I was feeling very lonely and sorry for myself. I was sitting there in church mentally condemning others for not working as hard as I was. I glanced over to my left and saw this elderly woman whose hands were horribly gnarled with arthritis take her seat next to me. She leaned over and asked me if I would mind pulling the Bible out of the rack for her. She said that she always liked to read a Psalm of thanksgiving as her prelude to worship. All I was doing to prepare for worship was grumbling to myself and here this woman was who lived with pain every day and yet she wants to thank God for her life. It made me realize all that I have to be thankful for. It sort of put my life in perspective. You know what I mean?”
Sally speaks out of the authority of her own experience. She does not try to impose it on Bryan but simply shares an experience of grace that occurred. The more we have named the grace that we experience and the more we have lifted it up in celebration, the more it will be natural for us to share it with others when the occasion arises. Instead of insisting that salvation only occurs in the church, we will point to where it has occurred for us.