Grace upon Grace

One my favourite Scripture pieces is John 1, and lately verse 16 rings repeatedly in my head: Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.

Grace on top of grace. Generous, copious, extravagant gifts on top of gifts. I live in this reality, and the wonder of it takes my breath away.

Then this morning I read another of Mark Galli’s excellent articles, (you can read it here) and it resonated deeply with me.

… in all its simplicity, it all its miraculousness, God’s word to Mary, God’s word to us: “Hey you. Yeah you—favored one!”

Biblical commentators and novelists have fun speculating why Mary was greeted like this. She is often pictured as a devout young woman, pure in heart, whose righteousness won her the honor of bearing Jesus. But in fact, the Bible shows no interest whatsoever in Mary’s life prior to this moment (and relatively little afterward). This announcement to Mary comes completely out of the blue, as if it were an act of sheer grace.

Indeed, an act of grace to Mary and to us. Before we could decide for or against God, before we could show him how religious we are, before we could ask forgiveness for our first sin, before we were the apple of our parents’ eyes, before the foundation of the world, God favored us. Not because he knew we would blossom into greatness. ….No, we were favored when God knew well enough that we would fail to live up to our potential, that most days we would be miserable little disciples. Yes, in spite of the fact that we would be sad, fearful, doubting, anxious, and sinful people, he favored us.

I think that life can never be the same after we have heard his words: “Hey, you there, you favoured one!”

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